The importance of Healthcare as part of your self care plan
Awareness, knowledge, and action capture the spirit of International Women’s Day which was celebrated across the globe this week on the 8th of March. This year in fact marked a special milestone of 110 years since the first gathering was held in 1911. International Women’s Day is a time-honoured tradition for women of all ages and from all walks of life, and for different reasons. From their resilience to their positive influence, today celebrates the achievements of women and their contribution to the upliftment of society.
There is an understated power of a woman who understands and relates to her wellbeing. For a woman needs her health to blaze a trail for others to follow. As women are confronted with personal and professional battles daily, personal self-care is the biggest tool in a woman’s arsenal to stand up to the challenges before her.
Taking time out of each day for herself, eating healthy, exercising, and regular breast self-examinations should be three of the top priorities on her self-care list. This International Women’s Day radiology practice Morton & Partners wants to drive home the importance of women knowing their normal when it comes to their breast health.
So what does it take for a woman to ‘know her normal’?
Knowing your normal starts at home with monthly breast self-examinations. A woman’s breasts change during the course of her life, so it is vital for a woman to get to know her breasts and what feels normal in both breasts. Should an irregularity be picked up in one breast and not the other, this is called asymmetry and should be examined by a medical practitioner without delay.
Other than a lump being felt in the breast, other worrying signs that a woman should look out for is a lump in her armpit (also called the axilla), dimpling in the skin of her breasts, a nipple discharge especially if only on one side and bloody, a rash on or around her nipple, or a change in the appearance of her nipple.
Women are encouraged to do monthly breast self-examinations while standing in front of a mirror. Observing their breasts in the mirror will help women to pick up any changes to the physical appearance of their breasts, whether painful or not. Breast self-examinations are important for women (and men) of all ages, and any changes need to be assessed by a doctor.
The causes of breast cancer are multi-factorial, but age is a significant risk factor. Older women are more susceptible to breast cancer and so annual mammograms are recommended for women from the age of 40.
According to expert diagnostic radiologist at Morton & Partners in Cape Town, Dr Jacqueline Kieck, if there is anything that international studies have shown us is that regular mammography screening can save lives.
A mammogram is a non-invasive x-ray with minimum radiation that enables the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. The primary purpose of all screening is to pick up cancers early.
Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland in the United States, writes that mammography is detection, not prevention. Dr Sarah Zeb from Johns Hopkins says, “Having a mammogram every year increases the chance of detecting the cancer when it is small and when it is most easily treated which also improves survival.”
“The smaller the tumour, the better the prognosis,” Dr Kieck concurs. She adds that a screen-detected tumour has an even better prognosis than a palpable lump, possibly even resulting in lesser treatments.
The reason for regular mammograms is for radiologists to have something to compare to. “It’s much easier to find an abnormality if you can see a change from the last mammogram,” notes Dr Kieck.
During this year, Morton & Partners has plans to raise awareness of breast screening, share information on the different breast cancers, and dispel myths that put off women from having mammograms.
“We see International Women’s Day as a means to empower women through proactive health choices,” comments Lizka Potgieter, marketing manager at Morton & Partners.
“Our objective is for women to celebrate their bodies and take the time to invest in their longevity.”
Morton & Partners will be gifting women a 15% discount when booking a mammogram in the month of their birthdays during 2021. The offer is available to private-paying patients. This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with other promotional discounts/offers or vouchers.