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Early detection of breast cancer

  • Symptoms of breast cancer.
  • Mammogram for early detection.
  • Monthly self-examination of breasts.

Unlike many cancers, breast cancer does not present with pain. However, the Breast Health Foundation advises that this does not mean that if you feel a lump that it is not cancer.

The most common symptoms of breast cancer are a lump in the breast or discharge from the nipple. Ideally, you would want breast cancer to be diagnosed by a mammogram before the lump even presents.

The risk for breast cancer increases as women grow older, but CANSA (Cancer Association of South Africa) cautions that all women are at risk, especially women with a family history of breast cancer or those who are overweight, inactive, consume alcohol, and have poor dietary habits. Smoking and exposure to chemicals also increases the risk.

What are the symptoms of breast cancer?

  • Change in the size and shape of the skin.
  • Thickening of the skin of the nipple or ulceration.
  • Eczema of the nipple, itching or scaly patches.
  • Nipple turning inward.
  • Thickening or dimpling of the skin of the breast.
  • Noticeable lumps under the arms.

Detect changes in your breast through self-examination EVERY month.

Visit this CANSA link for easy-to-follow video instructions.

If you do feel a lump in your breast or notice other symptoms, do not panic as a large percentage of those are benign. What you do need to do is to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible for a check-up and a professional opinion.

“Your Link pharmacist is an accessible point of care in the community and is always available to listen to your fears and concerns. In the event of you noticing possible breast cancer symptoms, they will encourage you to see your doctor or a specialist, either to allay your concerns or to start early treatment”, says Link’s Ryan Conybeare.



While all reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this article, information may change or become dated, as new developments occur. The Link group shall not be held liable or accountable for the accuracy, completeness or correctness of any information for any purpose. No content in this article, irrespective of the date or reference source, should be viewed as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor, pharmacist or any other suitably qualified clinician.