Fighting breast cancer one day at a time

Johan Van Zyl -- Wed, 10/05/2016 - 09:51

Fighting breast cancer one day at a time

The incidence of breast cancer among South African women is increasing and it is one of the most common cancers among women in South Africa. Worldwide, breast cancer is the leading type of cancer in women, accounting for 25% of all cases.

During the month of October, the School of Nursing Science at the North-West University will create awareness about the prevalence of breast cancer. The designation of October as “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” in South Africa reflects a nationwide drive by public and private healthcare structures.

Dr Welma Lubbe, a senior lecturer and researcher at the School of Nursing Science, does not only devote her professional career to improving the quality of life for others; she knows the pain first hand. Just more than a year ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“It is an extreme physical and emotional rollercoaster with hard bumps and broken tracks. The diagnosis hit me like an oncoming train - because according to the statistics, I’m too young for breast cancer. Please, familiarise yourself with the facts. Go for regular check-ups. Help me to spread the hope that cancer can be beaten - I have done it!”     

Facts about breast cancer:

  • It is the most prevalent cancer amongst white and Asian women and the second most common cancer among black and coloured women.
  • Early detection of the condition can lead to effective treatment and a positive prognosis. About 90% of patients survive for many years after diagnosis when breast cancer is detected at the early stages.
  • Regular self-breast examination and regular mammograms are key to early detection.
  • Presenting yourself early for treatment may result in more effective treatment, leading to a reduction in pain and suffering and a significant decrease in the loss of life.
  • Women may reduce their risk of breast cancer by maintaining a healthy weight, drinking less alcohol, being physically active and breastfeeding their children. These modifications might prevent as much as 38% of breast cancers.


Dr Lubbe talks about her journey after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

This video was documented in September 2016.