Tag Archives: Test

Breast cancer detection.

16 Oct

In my series dedicated to breast cancer awareness, I would like to focus on the importance of early detection.
In my previous blog on this topic, I honoured my late friend, Karissa Samuel, one of the the most important elements that she always spoke about was early detection. In my research on this topic, the age at which women should test their breast varies from different continents. In South Africa, its common to start from the age of 40, The American Cancer Society, for example, says they’re optional for women starting in their 20s. I simply say we can start as early as possible with the self examination. The sooner breast cancer gets diagnosed, the better your odds of getting a successful treatment for it are.
That’s why it’s important to have regular breast exams by your doctor, mammograms as recommended, and to check your breasts for any suspicious changes.
First and foremost, It’s a good idea to know how your breasts normally look and feel so you can notice any changes. This also starts with self love, looking and appreciating your body. Cherish its curves, lumps, contours and shapes. Spend time alone with yourself, naked in front of the mirror, identifying your unique shape and form and most importantly, love what you see and have.

How Should A Breast Self-Exam Be Performed?
1. In the shower:
Using the pads of your fingers, move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the centre, checking the entire breast and armpit area. Check both breasts each month feeling for any lump, thickening, or hardened knot. Notice any changes and get lumps evaluated by your healthcare provider.

2. In front of the mirror;
Visually inspect your breasts with your arms at your sides. Next, raise your arms high overhead.
Look for any changes in the contour, any swelling, or dimpling of the skin, or changes in the nipples. Next, rest your palms on your hips and press firmly to flex your chest muscles. Left and right breasts will not exactly match—few women’s breasts do, so look for any dimpling, puckering, or changes, particularly on one side.
3. Lying down.
When lying down, the breast tissue spreads out evenly along the chest wall. Place a pillow under your right shoulder and your right arm behind your head. Using your left hand, move the pads of your fingers around your right breast gently in small circular motions covering the entire breast area and armpit.
Use light, medium, and firm pressure. Squeeze the nipple; check for discharge and lumps. Repeat these steps for your left breast.
It may better to wait 3 to 5 days after your period ends to do your self-exam. That’s because hormonal changes before your period can cause a temporary thickening in your breast that goes away after your period.
If you’re still unsure, your doctor can go over the self-exam with you.

Most women don’t start having mammograms until they’re at least 40. If you’re at higher risk for breast cancer, your doctor may want you to start at a younger age.
A mammogram can show breast lumps up to 2 years before they can be felt. Different tests help determine if a lump may be cancer. Ones that aren’t cancerous tend to have different physical features than ones that are. Imaging tests such as mammograms and ultrasounds can often see the difference.

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I have listed three spaces in Africa, that specialise in breast and gynaecological treatments.
The first is where I did my mammogram in 2015 with Dr. Nadia Jajbhay:

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1. The Women’s health and mammography institution, in Killarney, Johannesburg, South Africa. (WHMI)
WHMI is a breast care institute with a difference. Dedicated exclusively to breast cancer screening and diagnosis, patients can expect unrivalled professionalism and personal care.
WHMI radiologists are experienced in breast imaging, supported by a staff of experienced and committed mammographers all cutting-edge digital technology all under the supervision of a dedicated practice manager.
At WHMI we understand your need for privacy and optimum care under sensitive circumstances such as this. Whether you’re a mother or daughter, wife or sister, home executive or professional
Contact email address is: infodoc@whmi.co.za

2. In West Africa, in Nigeria there is the Reddington Hospital breast and gynaecology centre in Lagos.
“The Breast and Gynaecological centre provides a full range of high quality and personalised healthcare services ranging from women’s health, including a Gynaecology Clinic, a Breast Health Clinic to a Women’s Wellness Clinic.
“Located in the heart of Victoria Island, Lagos, the Centre offers services covering fibroid, infertility care, menopausal health, pelvic health, hysteroscopy, and simple office procedures. Reddington Hospital Group Medical Director, Dr Olutunde Lalude said in keeping with the Reddington’s tradition of being the front runner in medical breakthroughs in the country, the Breast and Gynaecological Centre boasts of cutting-edge technology never seen before in West Africa.
‘’They include a 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (3D Mammography), a 3D Automatic Breast Ultrasound System (3D ABUS), a 3D Digital Breast Streotaxic Biopsy System (3D Stereo), a 3D MRI with 1.5 Tesla GE Explorer Technology.

3. In East Africa: The Mater Hospital, in Nairobi, Kenya.
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The Mater Hospital has installed mammography machines and the price of mammogram was reviewed to an affordable rate. So far mammography is the most reliable method for breast screening and early diagnosis of breast cancer .To allow the service to be accessible to all women, we now accept walk-ins for routine checkup on women above 40 years of age. Privacy of the patient is maintained by having only lady radiographers to perform the examination.
inform@materkenya.com

If you have more information on other regions or countries in Africa, please send through and I will gladly blog about them.