18 September 2023: Breast cancer is currently the most common form of cancer detected among women worldwide. According to the National Cancer Registry (2020), one in every 30 women in South Africa are at risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetimes. The growing concern is that most women present with late-stage cancers can be addressed by early detection.

In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Keystone Medical Group in partnership with NGO, Screen Her Save Her, will address the need for more accessible breast cancer screening by establishing mobile screening units in the Garden Route and Cape Town.

A study conducted for the University of Cape Town found that the incidence of cancer is on the rise both globally and in South Africa. On the local front, however, literature and quantitative data on the current and predicted future of breast cancer incidence is lacking, which infers that the burden of breast cancer in the country may currently be underestimated.

A further study by CANSA, which studied the demographics and perceptions of a group of women diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer, suggested that South African women have little to no knowledge of the extent of the risk of breast cancer and how to conduct self-examinations.

These findings are indicative of the importance of educational drives and medical interventions that can address the need for greater awareness around this issue. This is the opinion of Rosa-Marie Cox-Cronje, Director of Screen Her Save Her, who believes that women need to be empowered to prioritise their health and get screened sooner rather than later.

As she explains:

“CANSA recommends that women get screened yearly for breast cancer, either via a mammogram or ultrasound, depending on the density of the breast tissue and the age of the woman. Our aim is to make this level of screening more accessible and affordable so that we can build stronger, safer, and healthier communities.”

The mobile mammography screening units will be based in five locations during the month of October. Mammograms are completely painless procedures which take around 30 minutes to complete. The scan can detect any irregularities in the breast tissue, any abnormal masses and lumps and is currently the most effective medical method used to detect breast cancer.

The units will be manned by an all-women team of health professionals and the mammograms will be made available to both medical aid and private patients. A limited number of screenings will be available to those who cannot afford the examination.

The mobile screening unit will be stationed at the following locations:
  • Milnerton – Richmond Corner Shopping Centre (11 – 15 September)
  • Oudtshoorn – Cape Karoo Ostrich Emporium (18 September – 22 September)
  • George – George Preparatory School (25 September – 7 November)
  • Plettenberg Bay – The Market Square (8 November – 24 November)
  • Jeffreys Bay – Fountains Mall (27 November – 22 December)

As Cox-Cronje concludes:

“We hope that by providing assistance in locations where women usually have to travel long distances to access healthcare, we can address the need to reduce some of the societal disparities that exist in the realm of women’s health.
Socioeconomic factors, geographical location, and cultural barriers should not determine one’s access to essential healthcare services. Accessible screening programs ensure that individuals have the opportunity to catch the disease before it progresses to a more advanced and often more challenging stage. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this is the message of hope we have for all women in South Africa.”

Appointments can be pre-booked online via this link: https://calendly.com/ks-med or via the telephone line: 087 055 0587 (option 5).

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