October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international health campaign organised by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease around the world and raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The disease is said to be the second leading cause of death among women, and no confirmed cause, early discovery is essential to saving lives. According to statistics from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (2020), breast cancer has now overtaken lung cancer as the world’s most commonly diagnosed cancer. Also per the World Health Organisation, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide and is the second leading cause of death after cervical cancer in low-income countries. According to RBC and Rwanda Cancer Registry, 52 per cent of breast cancer patients present their cancer with stage 3 and 24 per cent with stage 1, due to patients being unaware of their status. A breast cancer stage is usually expressed as a number (0-4). Stage 0 describes non-invasive cancers (remain within their original location) and invasive cancers as stages rise, for example, stage 4, spread outside the breast to other parts of the body), according breastcancer.org. As few may know, men too can suffer from breast cancer. According to Dr Emmy Agabe Nkusi, the chief consultant neurosurgeon at King Faisal Hospital Kigali, in a previous interview with this paper, said it is even more fatal for men. “Breast cancer contributes a lot to deaths in mostly women but men can get it too. Actually, it can be worse for men because they have a small amount of breast tissue which makes cancer easier to spread to surrounding tissues and the rest of the body,” he said. However, when breast cancer is detected early, with adequate, timely, and accurate diagnosis and treatment, it can be treated. Below are tips on how to detect breast cancer, provided by The National Health Service of England (NHS): • A change in the size, or shape of your breast. • A lump, thickening or bumpy area in a breast or armpit. • Swelling in your armpit, collarbone, or breasts. • Discharge of fluid from either of your nipples. • Itching or redness on or around the nipple • Change in the nipple position. It is important to note that pain in the breast is not always a symptom of breast cancer, NHS says. People can self-examine their breasts by keeping track of changes in their breast size, colour, or shape. They can also check any lumps under the armpit or breast, or undergo screening for breast cancer at a hospital.