Breast cancer: Early detection saves lives

29 October 2020 | Opinion

Windhoek • Marjolize Scholtz

October is breast cancer awareness month and this year it is celebrated under the theme ‘Give Hope. Save Lives.”
So far, 2020 has been a powerful reminder that we are all in this together and our choices and actions have the power to protect the most vulnerable amongst us. This is not only true for Covid-19, but also when it comes to breast cancer.
Breast cancer awareness month and its accompanying pink ribbon are now synonymous with the awareness around this cancer, prevention, early detection, and the hope for all of surviving this dreaded disease.
Awareness means different things to different people. For some, it’s about celebrating strength and survival and giving hope. For others, advocacy and a push to educate people about the realities of breast cancer. At FNB Wellness we offer all of the above to our employees and encourage them to talk to us about any concerns and fears they might have regarding their health and wellness. We all need some strength, guidance and hope and here are just a few ways you can help:

• Education
When breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localised stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%. Early detection includes doing monthly breast self-exams and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms. Early detection can save your life.
• Support
Spread the word about breast cancer awareness month on social media and among your friends. Support a loved one fighting the cancer battle with practical actions since they might not have the strength to do themselves. For instance, cook meal, give a foot massage, or keep them company during treatment.
• Hope
Share the story of how you or a loved one have been affected or survived breast cancer and proudly wear a pink ribbon every October.
• Normalise awareness of breast cancer in men
As part of breast cancer awareness month, it is also important to create awareness on male breast cancer, which is rare but it can grow in the small amount of breast tissue men have behind their nipples. Male breast cancer is most common in older men but can very occasionally affect younger men. Self-examination is the best way to detect if you have a lump in the breast.
We all have a duty to inform and educate our fellow Namibians to ensure early detection, and to maintain our health and overall wellbeing.
*Marjolize Scholtz is FNB’s Wellness Specialist.