Dis-Chem offers breast and cervical cancer screenings in support of cervical cancer awareness
With 1.7 million women being diagnosed each year, according to CANSA and Breast Cancer is the most common cancer amongst South African women, with cervical cancer coming in at a close second. Key to early diagnosis is for women to conduct monthly self-breast checks and go for an annual pap smear.
This year, in support of the government’s cancer prevention and management programme, Dis-Chem Pharmacies will be offering pap smears and breast examinations from 8 August up until 16 September both for only R210 at selected clinics nationally.
Supporting August’s focus on women and with September being Cervical Cancer awareness month, Dis-Chem is emphasising the critical importance of cervical cancer screenings and self-breast examinations. The goal of cervical cancer screening is to detect cervix cell changes and early cervical cancers before they cause symptoms. Women have a 1 in 42 lifetime risk of getting cervical cancer1 and in South Africa it is the cancer that most women die from.
“If detected early, cervical and Breast Cancer can be treated successfully, so it is vital that women know what symptoms to look out for and that they go for regular screenings,” says Lizeth Kruger, Dis-Chem’s Clinic Executive. “This is why we are offering pap smears and breast examinations at a reduced rate at selected clinics, making it affordable and accessible for women to ensure they have their annual check-ups.”
This is in line with Dis-Chem’s focus on integrated primary healthcare, of which a central component is prevention and early diagnosis of conditions that can lead to more serious diseases.
“Cervical cancer is closely linked to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Over 40 types of HPV can infect the genital area as well as the mouth and throat and are spread during sexual contact”, says Kruger.
“In many cases, Cervical Cancer can be prevented by finding abnormal cell changes that, if left untreated, could develop into cancer. While a pap smear doesn’t directly test for cancer, it detects abnormal cells in the cervix and these can be a red flag for cancer.”
Most people with HPV have no symptoms or health problems, so they usually don’t even know they are infected. While most genital HPV infections aren’t harmful and go away on their own. Some kinds can lead to genital warts or certain types of cancer.
“Breast Cancer affects approximately 27 in 100 000 women in South Africa and accounts for 16% of cancer deaths amongst women. The reality is that the incidence of cancer is becoming more commonplace among local women and the later it is detected, the harder it becomes to treat successfully, which is why we are also placing emphasis on breast examinations,” concludes Kruger.