The so-called shy cancers include testicular, cervical, prostate, ovarian, breast and colon cancer.They are known as the silent killers as they often go undetected for far too long due to a lack of knowledge.
About the “Shy Cancers”:
1. BREAST CANCER
Breast cancer is a malignant growth that begins in the tissues of the breast. It can be cured if detected early and treated correctly. Three ways to detect breast cancer early: Breast self-examination, mammograms and sonars.
What are the signs?
- A lump, hard know or thickening in your breasts, above and below the collar-bone and in your armpit
- Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of skin on your breasts, above and below the collar-bone and in your armpit
- Change in the size or shape of the breast
- Dimpling or puckering of the skin on your breasts, above and below the collar-bone and in your armpit
- Itchy, scaly painful rash on the nipple
- Nipple discharge
What are the risks?
- Women and men are both at risk, although more than 80% of breast cancer cases occur in women over 50 and less than 1% of breast cancer cases occur in men
- If you have family history of breast cancer
- Women who started menstrual periods early (before age 12) or went through menopause late )after age 55) are at higher risk\Birth controlpills may slightly increase the risk of breast cancer
- Women who have used HRT run a slightly higher risk of getting breast cancer
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is safe low-dose X-ray examination of the breast to detect abnormal changes in the breast. This takes only a few minutes.
What is breast self-examination?
This is when you examine your breasts yourself for changes in the texture and for lumps. If you get to know the look and feel of your breasts yourself, you’ll be able to detect any changes that take please. Breast self-examinations should be done once a month in the week following your menstrual period if you are age 20 or older or the same day of the month if you are in your menopause.
2. CERVICAL CANCER
- The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb)
- One in 35 women in South Africa will develop cervical cancer
- Vaginal pain or bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Pain in the lower part of your stomach (pelvis)
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Abnormal bleeding between your menstrual period
Who should be more careful?
- Take birth control pills for a long time
- Do not go for a pap smear regularly
- Have many different sexual partners, which increases the risk of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection
What to do?
Have a pap smear
- A pap smear can be done by your doctor, at some women’s health centers or at some community health centers
- It is a quick, simple and painless test during which the doctor collects cells from your cervix
- If you are between 18 and 70 years of age and have sexual intercourse you should have a pap smear every two years
- 90% of cervical cancers can be prevented if you go for a pap smear regularly
Ask your doctor for a vaccine that can prevent new infection with the types of HPV that causes most cases of cervical cancer.
Visit Cancer.vive or CANSA.org for more information.
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