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All the ladies in the house, put your hands up!


That’s right ladies, it’s pink October and you know what that means – time to check your breasts.


Yes it’s a fact that breast cancer is the most common cancer in South African women, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 35 women, but the good news is you can reduce your risk through regular examinations.


Because if caught early, breast cancer can be cured.


Just take a look at these survival statistics for breast cancer from the National Cancer Database of the US-based National Cancer Institute (2001-2002):


  • Stage 0: 93%

  • Stage I: 88%

  • Stage IIA: 81%

  • Stage IIB: 74%

  • Stage IIIA: 67%

  • Stage IIIB: 41%

  • Stage IV: 15%


So regular clinical examinations like mammograms (annually, if you’re 40 or older) and monthly self-exams are an absolute must.


If you’re already checking your breasts every month, kudos to you!


If you’re not (or not sure if you’re doing it right), follow these tips from the Cancer Association of South Africa:


  1. Put your hands up! Always check your breasts with one arm raised up behind your head.

  2. Lying down: Lie on your back with a pillow under your right shoulder and your right hand under your head. With the four fingers of your left hand, make small circular motions in an up and down pattern over the entire breast area, under the arms and up to the shoulder bone, pressing firmly. Repeat using your right hand on your left breast.

  3. In the shower: Put your right hand behind your head and do the same circular motions on the right breast and underarm with a soapy left hand. Repeat on the other side.

  4. In front of the mirror: Standing in front of a mirror, check for any changes in how your breasts normally look, such as dimpling, a sudden difference in size, or any discharge from your nipples. Look first with your arms at your sides, then with your arms raised and your hands up, next while pressing your hands firmly on your hips, and finally while bending forward.


Self-exams should be done once a month during ovulation.


Remember, lumpy glandular tissue is a normal part of breast tissue, but if you’re concerned about any perceivable change in your breasts, speak to your doctor.


Did you know that we cover all stages of breast cancer?


We have 3 critical illness benefits that cover Stage 1, 2 and 3 breast cancer; Early Cancer Cover that covers early stage cancer and carcinoma in situ events (which are normally excluded); and Comprehensive Cancer Cover that covers all cancers from Stage 0 or right through to Stage 4.


If you’re not covered for cancer, speak to your broker today about cancer cover from Altrisk.


Don’t have a broker? Click here and we’ll put you in touch with one.

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