Helping the less privileged women beat breast cancer by early detection
1. What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer is cancer that starts in the breast tissue.
One in seven women in Africa will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
Breast cancer can cause symptoms such as a lump, but a lump is not the only symptom of breast cancer.
2. How does breast cancer start?
Breast cancer starts when cells in the breast begin to divide and grow in an unusual and uncontrolled way.
3. Where does breast cancer start?
Breast cancer can start in different parts of the breast.
The most common type of breast cancer starts in the ducts. The ducts are tubes in the breast that carry breast milk to the nipple.
Sometimes cancer can start in the lobules. The lobules are glands that produce milk for breastfeeding.
4. Who does breast cancer affect?
Breast cancer mainly affects older women.
Most breast cancers (80%) occur in women over the age of 50. And the older you are, the higher your risk.
Men can also get breast cancer, but this is rare. Most men who get breast cancer are over 50.
Breast cancer is caused by a combination of our genes, environment and lifestyles.
5. Being breast aware
The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of successful treatment. So it's important to check your breasts regularly and see your doctor if you notice any change.
Checking your breasts and the changes to be aware of
Common breast cancer signs and symptoms include:
a lump or swelling in the breast, upper chest or armpit – you might feel the lump but not see it
a change to the skin, such as puckering or dimpling
a change in the colour of the breast – the breast may look red or inflamed
a change to the nipple, for example it has become pulled in (inverted)
rash or crusting around the nipple
any unusual liquid (discharge) from either nipple
changes in size or shape of the breast
On its own, pain in your breasts is not usually a sign of breast cancer. But look out for pain that’s there all or most of the time.
Noticing an unusual change doesn’t necessarily mean you have breast cancer, and most breast changes are not because of cancer. But it’s important to get checked by your doctor.