Dr Lydia Punt
Medical Specialist, Grootte Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town
October is breast cancer awareness month. A month when we as health care professionals should again take time to remind women of all walks of life that they are important. That their health is important. That we should care about ourselves. That we should make time to be screened and book ourselves for a mammogram.
Breast cancer is all around us. We all know people that have been through the treatment.
We all know women that has died because of this disease. But this should not paralyze us with fear.
This should motivate us to take charge of our own health and be screened. Knowledge is Power and Breast cancer can be Cured!
In the past decade, the international community, through scientific research and trials, has changed the landscape of treatment options available. We now have newer chemotherapies, targeted treatments, immunotherapy, and sophisticated radiation equipment to give an even better outcome for patients. Patients can now live longer than ever before, with less side-effects and a better quality of life.
We know however that the best outcomes are still found in patients where the diagnosis are made at an early stage. Sometimes this means even before a lump can be felt! It makes so much sense to go for a regular mammogram and ultrasound so that any change of your breast tissue over time can be detected immediately.
Nowadays, newer equipment and highly trained radiotherapists also help to make this examination much less uncomfortable. And studies have again shown that this procedure is safe indeed.
So, I want to again motivate you to do breast self-examinations and to report for your regular screening.
Do not be afraid. Do not be in denial. There is a passionate group of professionals to walk this journey with you. Together we can change the course of Breast Cancer.