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Breast Cancer Awareness

breast cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, it is the most common type of cancer amongst women in South Africa and it is said to still be increasing. Today we are joined by guests; Dr. Liana Roodt about her work through Project Flamingo, Dr. Kyla Comins who is a breast cancer patient, Warda Saal who is a breast cancer survivor, and MD of Medical Tactile Imaging Alan Macguire. They will be discussing how they have and still continue to deal with it.

Dr liana
Dr. Liana Roodt
Dr. Roodt will be discussing the work the she does through Project Flamingo, which is a Breast Cancer association that does catch-up surgeries for the community, through the referral basis in the Public Sector.

Dr. Kyla Comins
Medical doctor Kyla comins, who is a clinical researcher for treatments on drug-resistant TB, was diagnosed with with stage 2B breast cancer in 2016. She discovered that she had a stage 2B tumour, which is anything larger than 5cm, whilst doing a self-examination. She had to undergo two biopsies and ultrasound before she was properly diagnosed.

Warda Saal
Warda discovered she had a lump in her breast in early June 2016. After a mammogram and a biopsy, she was diagnosed with breast cancer by the 15th of June. She had to undergo 8 rounds of chemotherapy every 21 days, from the 1 August until 29 December. The treatment didn’t go as well as she had hoped, and she had to undergo a mastectomy on the 18 February. She is now undergoing treatment and has a great support system behind her which has never allowed her to give up hope.

Alan Maguire
He is MD of Medical Tactile Imaging(ZA). They import the latest technology in safe pain free breast screening, not only that but they also train the doctors and medial staff that purchase or operate the systems.

Below are answers from Dr Liana Roodt, regarding common breast cancer questions.

What are the symptoms of Breast Cancer?
Symptoms vary. The most common presenting problem is a breast lump. It can be painless or sometimes painful/tender. Some patients may present with a nipple discharge - that is bloody fluid draining spontaneously from the nipple. Sometimes it is completely asymptomatic and only picked up on mammogram

What are the risks for getting Breast Cancer?
International stats currently reports that 1 in 8 woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life time. Official SA statistics in 1 in 29 women but this is likely too conservative - in our experience is it probably closer to 1 in 13. Having a family history of breast cancer increase your risk.

What is a Mammogram?
It is a special imaging modality (x-ray) that can visualize the breast tissue and is used to screen for and diagnose breast cancer

How often should Women have a mammogram?
We don't have an official screening policy in South Africa. American guidelines suggest annual mammograms from the age of 40 unless you have a strong family history when you should likely start a sooner at age 35. UK and Canadian guidelines suggest annual mammography from the age of 50 or the age of 35-40 if you have a family history. Best option is to consult with your GP/breast surgeon/gynae to do a clinical exam and risk assessment to decide what will be best for you and make an appropriate referral for a mammogram or ultrasound. For younger patients an ultrasound may be of more value.

What types of treatment are there?
Treatment of breast cancer always involves a combination of therapies of which surgery is always one. This will then be combined with chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy and/or endocrine therapy.

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