Women urged to examine breasts to detect signs of cancer

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By Mbekezeli Ncube

A senior health practitioner in Hwange’s Empumalanga clinic has urged women to constantly examine their breasts so as to detect signs of the disease earlier.

Last month, the country celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this year’s commemorations were celebrated under the theme ‘Give Hope, Save Lives’.

As usual, men and women were asked to show support for breast cancer survivors and those battling the disease by wearing pink ribbons or clothing.

Empumalanga Clinic is a Hwange Local Board (HLB) funded health institution.

“We (health practitioners) continue to encourage women to do self-breast evaluation and visiting any nearest healthcare facility to seek medical advice. If they do self-breast evaluation and observe something queer, they should immediately seek advice from any nearest healthcare institution,” said Empumalanga sister-in-charge Sindiso Mhlanga.

She said there was no sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, adding that early detection of the disease remained the cornerstone of breast cancer control.

When breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured. If detected late, however, curative treatment is often no longer an option.

In such cases, palliative care to relief the suffering of patients and their families is needed.

Mhlanga noted that not much was done in raising breast cancer awareness in the month of October in Hwange District.

“In most cases, flyers with information pertaining to breast cancer will be distributed and campaigns will be done on raising awareness on the disease during the month of October but I didn’t see any in Hwange this year,” said Mhlanga.

The Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world every October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease.

On its part, the local authority frequently posted information pertaining to breast cancer on its social media platforms as a way of raising awareness on the disease.

HLB systems administrator and gender focal person Benita Moyo reiterated Mhlanga’s sentiments on the importance of early detection of the disease.

Miss Moyo further emphasised the need for continuous awareness on the disease and men’s active participation in the fight against the illness.

“October, the breast cancer month has ended, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop raising awareness on the ailment. Men should also be aware that breast cancer is not a disease for women only, but it also has an effect on them as well,” she said.