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Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) is encouraging all women to invest in their health by learning how to detect women's cancers early. CANSA launched its Lymphoedema programme as part of its women's health campaign to celebrate International Gynaecological Health Day on 10th September.

"We would like to raise awareness of this challenging complication of cancer treatment, commonly found in women's cancers, causing swelling mostly of the arm and legs from damaged lymph nodes. Our aim is to provide clinics countrywide to address the acute shortage of lymphoedema services," explains Sue Janse van Rensburg, CANSA's CEO.
Commending CANSA for the role it played in the prevention and treatment of women's cancers, Mrs Tobeka Madiba-Zuma urged organisations to assist government in the fight against cancers of all types to ensure a healthier nation, citing that government alone cannot be expected to defeat the disease. "Government, NGOs and civil society groups should work in partnership in order to advocate for improved access to cervical screening services and affordable HPV vaccines," she says.
The event included the unveiling of a commemorative tea table book `Sister Warriors'. "This publication is a testament to cancer survivors, caregivers and unsung heroines in our community who have taken up the fight against cancer," Janse van Rensburg adds.
Sales from the book will go towards CANSA's Lymphoedema programme that aims to help provide information about the signs and symptoms as well as the prevention and treatment of the disease.
CANSA offers the following tips to all women on how to detect women's cancers early:
o Cervical cancer. Go for a Pap smear every two to three years if you are sexually active.  Latest statistics indicate that 1 in 35 women are diagnosed with this cancer in South Africa;
o Breast cancer. Do a breast self examination every 7 to 10 days after your period. Repeat monthly within same time interval.  Have a mammogram yearly after age 40. Latest statistics indicate that 1 in 29 women are diagnosed with breast cancer  in South Africa;
o Ovarian cancer. Often referred to as the "silent killer" as there are few symptoms until the final stage of the disease. Be aware of the risk factors - hormone replacement therapy after menopause, obesity, strong family history of cancer.  Have regular medical check-ups. Latest statistics indicate that 1 in 297 women are diagnosed with this cancer in South Africa; and,
o Reduce your overall risk for cancer by: exercising regularly, eating wholegrain foods, vegetables and fruit, avoiding being overweight, breastfeeding your baby, and avoiding tobacco smoke and alcohol.

For further information on female cancers please visit:
www.cansa.org.za; contact CANSA toll-free 0800 22 66 22; or email: info@cansa.org.za
For more information or copies of fact sheets, please contact Lucy Balona, Head: Marketing and Communication at CANSA; call (011) 616 7662 or (082) 459 5230; or email: lbalona@cansa.org.za

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:22.10 1st October, 2009
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