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In October, CANSA encourages women to get screened and to proactively share the need for screening on every available platform, including social media.

Breast cancer is the most common among South African women with a lifetime risk of 1 in 27, according to the 2014 National Cancer Registry. CANSA urges women to get to know what is normal for their bodies, so that when they do a monthly breast self-examination(BSE), they may detect any changes, signs, and symptoms of breast cancer. The organisation has just released a new educational video that shows women how to perform a BSE which is available on it’s website (

Women who have no symptoms of breast cancer should request an annual clinical breast examination (CBE) when visiting primary health care centres. Women with a family history of breast cancer should be especially aware of symptoms and not neglect screening.

CANSA advocates a mammogram every year for all women from age 40 to 54 for purposes of non-symptomatic breast screening (women 55 years and older, should have a mammogram every two years – or if they choose, continue with an annual mammogram). Public Hospital Breast Clinics or the Radiological Society of SA (RSSA) on 011-794 4395, be contacted to arrange for a mammogram.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among South African women (with an estimated lifetime risk of 1:42), but more women in South Africa are dying from cervical cancer than from breast cancer due to late diagnosis. Most cervical cancers are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), making it one of the most preventable cancers when the HPV vaccination is implemented appropriately.  The vaccination is safe and most effective when given at an early age (9 years and older) or before sexual debut. In SA the HPV vaccination was approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority in Feb 2008 for its efficacy.

All women should go for Pap smears at least every three years, from the age of 25, to detect abnormal cells early. However, women are entitled to and can request screening at a younger age. Women making use of public sector screening services are entitled to three free Pap smears, starting at the age of 30 years or older, with a 10-year interval between each smear. If women experience abnormal symptoms, they can request a Pap smear at local government clinics. CANSA also offers affordable Pap smear screening at CANSA Care Centres.

HIV infected women are at an increased risk for HPV infection at an earlier age (13-18 years). Those who are HIV positive should be, and are entitled to be, screened for cervical cancer at diagnosis and subsequently every three years if the screening test is negative and at yearly intervals if the screening test is positive.

This August, join with CANSA and make health a priority – Get screened!


Rather than focusing on individual food items, CANSA encourages a balanced diet based on the following principles:

  1. Plenty of seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables every day (at least 5 portions)

The evidence for a protective effect of lowering the risk for cancer of greater vegetable and fruit consumption is consistent for cancers of the stomach, oesophagus, lung, oral cavity and pharynx, endometrium, pancreas, and colon. The types of vegetables or fruit that most often appear to assist in lowering the risk for cancer are raw vegetables, followed by allium vegetables (onions and garlic), carrots, green vegetables, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), and tomatoes

  1. Limiting the intake of red and particularly processed meat (polony, bacon, viennas, cold meats) – substitute these with fish, beans, lentils and soya products

The association between consumption of red and processed meats and cancer, particularly colorectal cancer, is very consistent. Those who eat a Western-style diet high in red and processed meats, desserts, refined grains, and French fries have an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and death from other causes

  1. Eat more fibre – this includes the skins of fruit and vegetables and eating whole grain foods such as brown rice and wholewheat pasta/bread

Dietary fibre is mainly needed to keep the digestive system healthy. It also contributes to other processes, such as stabilising glucose and cholesterol levels. In countries with traditionally high fibre diets, diseases such as bowel cancer, diabetes, and coronary heart disease are much less common than in the West.

  1. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol has been classified as a Group 1 Carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 1988. This means that there is sufficient evidence to prove that alcohol causes cancer in humans. As a result, no level of alcohol consumption is considered safe.

Book your appointment with CANSA on the 19th October for your screenings – PAPS, breast examinations, mole mapping, and PSA testing.  Book on

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