The Four Most Common Cancers


Women's Health |

The four most common cancers among SA women*. Here are the symptoms of each of the cancers and how you can test for it…

Breast Cancer

What it is: A malignant tumour that starts in the cells of the breast.

How common: SA women have a one-in-35 chance of developing this.

Symptoms: Lump in a breast; a change in breast or nipple appearance or how it feels; nipple discharge; rash; pain in breast or armpit.

How to test for it: Do monthly breast self-examinations.

Cervical Cancer

What it is: Growth of abnormal cells in the cervix.

How common: One in 42 SA women will get this.

Symptoms: Abnormal vaginal bleeding; pelvic pain; pain during sex.

How to test for it: Go for a Pap smear at least once every three years.

Colorectal Cancer

What it is: A small growth of tissue that starts in the lining of the colon or rectum.

How common: One in 199 SA women will get this.

Symptoms: Change in bowel habits; abdominal discomfort; rectal bleeding; unexplained weight loss; fatigue.

How to test for it: Stool test; colonoscopy or CT scan.

Uterine Cancer

What it is: A type of cancer that begins in the cells that form the lining of the uterus.

How common: One in 176 South African women will get this.

Symptoms: Bleeding between periods; heavier periods; pain in pelvic area, or during sex; abnormal vaginal discharge.

How to test for it: The doctor will do a biopsy, image testing or blood tests.

*Figures according to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA)

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