Self-examination of your breasts needs to be part of your daily routine.This according to council’s health department, which encouraged women to take their well-being in their own hands. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with and the City of Cape Town’s clinics running a range awareness campaigns focusing on the disease. “Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women and early detection can lead to effective treatment and a positive prognosis,” said JP Smith, Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security, and Social Services. “Regular breast self-examination is key to early detection and we want to encourage women to visit their nearest clinic.”The awareness campaigns will focus on self-examination and breast health. Should women find an abnormality during their examination process, they should discuss it with a clinic healthcare worker, who will refer them to a doctor for further examination and possible referral. While some tests for breast cancer can be done at clinics, others may have to be conducted at the breast clinics at Tygerberg or Groote Schuur hospitals.“While the focus this month is on breast health, I want to encourage women to make their well-being a year round priority,” Smith implored. “Try to live a healthy, balanced life, go for regular medical check-ups and know how to lower your cancer risk.According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), research has shown a link between exercising regularly at a moderate or intense level for four to seven hours a week and a lower risk of breast cancer. “Becoming active and fitter doesn’t mean you have to spend money to join a gym; many of the City’s recreation centres have programmes that encourage activity such as dance or aerobics, and some parks offer outdoor gym equipment,” Smith explained.“You can also go for a brisk walk around the park, work in the garden or simply take the stairs instead of the lift. Just remember to check with your healthcare professional before starting an exercise programme.”V A list of recreation centres and outdoor gyms can be found at www.capetown.gov.za.