Breast cancer screening boosted


08 June 2018 | Health

Erongo Radiology at the Welwitschia Hospital pledged mammogram screenings to the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) in the Erongo region for vulnerable members of the community without access to medical aid and no means to pay for their healthcare.

Specialist diagnostic radiologist at Erongo Medical Dr Josef Kabongo stated at the handing over ceremony last week that CAN is helping women with cancer and working tirelessly to educate the nation by providing free education and information services when and where people need it the most.

“The progress you are making in raising breast cancer awareness is nothing short of remarkable. But it is no time to rest. For this reason we are gathered here today to support you in saving lives.”

Kabongo shared some facts on the debate that clouds Breast Cancer Screening programmes, like having mammograms cause breast cancer or how efficient mammogram screening is in reducing death from breast cancer.

He stated that a transatlantic flight loads the human body with a radiation dose of 0.4 millisievert (msv) equivalent to one mammogram screening. While the background radiation (from earth) per year equals 8 mammograms (3 msv), even higher 4.5 msv in high altitude (10 mammograms); and mammogram breast screening is only performed once a year.

Mammograms aim to detect very small lesion, 1-14 mm, before its spreads to the rest of the body (regional and distant disease). Moreover, mammograms also reduce death from cancer.

Kabongo noted a five-year survival rate of 98.6% in localised breast lesion, 20-year survival rate of 84.9% in regional disease and long-term survival rate of 25.9% in distant disease.

He further advised women to start mammogram breast cancer screening from 40 years of age and have it done once a year. Women from 55 years should have it done once every two years.

He also encouraged the rest of the community to join the movement in reducing breast cancer mortality by control and prevention.

“Women should actively self-examine their breasts regularly, seek immediate medical attention once a palpable lump is present, and participate from age 40 in annual and age 55 in biannual mammogram screening programmes, for early cancer detection and reduce mortality.”

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