October is Breast Cancer awareness month

28 September 2021 | Health

With more than 3 780 breast cancer cases having been reported to the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) in the last decade, this cancer remains the most prevalent in the country.

“While 3 681 of these cases where amongst Namibian women, men accounted for 107 breast cancer diagnoses also,” CAN chief executive Rolf Hansen and director of the National Cancer Registry, said.

Namibia records an average of 3 740 new cancer cases per annum, spanning non-invasive skin cancers to more life-threatening cancers that even affect infants.

Women remain more likely to be diagnosed with cancer in Namibia and continue to make up an average exceeding 54% of all cancer cases.

Cervical cancer and breast cancer are the most prevalent amongst women and jointly amounted to an average of 600 cases per year during the last decade.

“Cancer remains on the rise, but early interventions and quality treatment supports the survival rate,” Hansen explained.

According to him, when comparing the Namibian Age Standardized Rate (ASR) to international and African cancer trends, Namibia needs to place more emphasis on breast- and cervical cancer, in addition to Kaposi’s Sarcoma.

“The current trends indicate that the population at risk, infection rate and mortality of especially Namibian women, remain worrisome,” he said.

Screening

On the positive side, the Ministry of Health and Social Services rolled out effective cervical screening programmes in the last two years, and together with CAN’s outreaches focused on both breast and cervical cancer at a national level, stronger preventative and earlier treatment is becoming a reality.

Women over the age of 40 are advised to get an annual mammogram or breast sonar to detect possible abnormalities in the breast tissue and ducts.

Especially women who were never pregnant, experienced late pregnancies and have had severe hormonal changes, should monitor their breast closely and conduct monthly breast self-examinations (BSE) or a clinical breast examination (CBE).