October is pink and purple!

As the Jacaranda trees in Pretoria start to blossom, we celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

According to the 2016 National Cancer Registry (NCR), apart from non-melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, of all races, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 25. All women are at risk of developing breast cancer, but risk increases with a family history of breast cancer, being overweight, smoking, alcohol use, dietary risk factors as well as increased age. Research has also found that women suffering from gum disease may have a three times higher risk!

Women tend to put the health of their children and partners above their own. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a reminder to women to prioritise routine self-examinations and cancer screenings. Women are encouraged to make their health and wellbeing a priority all year round. Follow our social media this month for information on how to conduct a thorough breast self-examination and how to support the women in your life who may have received a life-altering diagnosis.

The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) provides health awareness material and scheduled screenings through mobile clinics in South Africa. The emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis may be just as devastating as the physical effects. Psychotherapy can help with the processing of all these frightening emotions. CANSA also provides a counselling service dedicated to providing advice to cancer sufferers and survivors. If you need support, speak to a counsellor by phoning their help desk on 0800 22 6622.

This month, Zena provides us with practical tips on dietary changes we can make to decrease our overall cancer risk. Dr Jacobie points out the importance of keeping our mouths healthy and Renardo asks the question whether some of our thoughts and behaviours can’t become harmful and cancerous to us.

Take care of yourselves. Remember, early detection saves lives! Send this newsletter along to a woman you care about.

Until next month,

The VH Team

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