South Africa: Youth Is No Protection Against Breast Cancer

South Africans march to promote cancer awareness and encourage survivors to talk about cancer publicly (file photo).
analysis

Think breast cancer is something only older women have to worry about? Think again. Experts say there are no age restrictions to this cancer - but that social support can mean the difference between life and death.

In the Autumn of 2008, Ntokozo Dludla was visiting her parents and daughter in Johannesburg. She lived and worked in Durban at the time. One morning as she and her 11-year-old daughter crossed paths in the house, her daughter accidentally bumped into her.

"Mom, I felt something in your breast," she exclaimed. "Can I touch?" Dludla laughed and brushed it off: "What do you really know about breasts?"

But Dludla didn't know that her daughter had been taught about breast self-examinations at school a couple of weeks before.

"We were told that if your breast has a lump and there's discharge coming out it then you should go to the doctor," she told her mother. Dludla let her examine her breast and the 11-year-old discovered a big lump in her mother's right breast....

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