Johannesburg - In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Keystone Medical Group, in partnership with the NGO Screen Her Save Her, is set to address the need for more accessible breast cancer screening by establishing mobile screening units in the Garden Route and Cape Town.
According to a study conducted by the University of Cape Town, the incidence of cancer is on the rise both globally and in South Africa.
It is indicated that on the local front, however, literature and quantitative data on the current and predicted future of breast cancer are lacking, which infers that the burden of breast cancer in the country may currently be underestimated.
Rosa-Marie Cox-Cronje, Director of Screen Her Save Her, believes that women need to be empowered to prioritize their health and get screened sooner rather than later.
She explains that 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,” she says.
Cox-Cronje further says they hope that by making screening accessible, individuals will have the opportunity to catch the disease before it progresses.
“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.”
The mobile screening unit will be stationed at the following locations:
• Milnerton: Richmond Corner Shopping Centre (September 11–15)
• 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)
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.
It is said that these findings are indicative of the importance of educational drives about cancer awareness.