– by Ayanda Radebe
Breast Cancer Awareness has become a global movement, and many organisations and communities have taken it upon themselves to support it. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is acknowledged every October to help those diagnosed with the disease and further encourage regular screening and prevention. The incidence of breast cancer among South African women is increasing, and it is one of the most common cancers among women in South Africa. Although it predominantly affects women, it can also affect men.
Here are some Breast Cancer statistics, according to the Breast Cancer Organization: 
- Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women
- Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than women of any other racial or ethnic group
- Experts believe that it’s partially because about 1 in 5 Black women are diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, more than any other racial or ethnic group
- About 85% of breast cancers occur in women who have no family history of breast cancer. These occur due to genetic mutations that result from the ageing process and life in general rather than inherited mutations.
Breast cancer awareness efforts have made a significant impact worldwide, with organisations and people coming together to support those affected by the disease.
Two ways to detect breast cancer:
Self-examination – Regularly examine your breasts and underarms every month to check for any changes to your breasts. This helps detect cysts or other benign breast problems between check-ups. If you notice any changes in your breast during self-exams, let your doctor know.
Preventive screening – A mammogram is an X-ray examination of the breast used to detect and diagnose breast disease, including a tumour that is not yet large enough to be felt. Getting checked regularly can also put your mind at ease.
Breast cancer is a severe disease that needs constant attention and support. By spreading awareness and providing support where possible, we inspire those fighting the disease to fight even harder because we are only strong when we stand together in solidarity. During the breast cancer awareness month, UKZN Extended Learning staff members supported those diagnosed with the disease by wearing pink to spread awareness.