October is a breast cancer awareness month

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It is estimated that 70-80% of cancer cases in Kenya are diagnosed in late stages due to a lack of awareness, inadequate diagnostic facilities, lack of treatment facilities, high cost of treatment and high poverty Index.

According to statistics by the Kenya Network of Cancer Organizations, breast cancer is now the leading cancer in women in Kenya (34 per 100,000), followed by cervical cancer (25 per 100,000). Global statistics indicate that 1 in every 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life time.

But all is not lost as it is possible to self-examine and fight the cells early if diagnose. Different hospitals are also offering testing and management of cancer at subsidized cost.


SELF EXAMINATION FOR BREAST CANCER according to breastcancer.org

STEP 1: Undress your bosom and stand in front of a mirror. Look at your breasts with your shoulders straight Breast exam graphic and your arms on your hips.
breast-exam-graphic-300x142

What you should look for:
Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:
Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling

STEP 2: raise your arms above your head and look for the same changes.
STEP 3: squeeze your nipples to check for any discharge (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
STEP 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.

NB: Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast (see breast cancer symptoms).

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