BREAST cancer is not life-threatening if it is discovered early enough.
That is the message from Dr Sandra Tarte, director of the Politics and International Affairs Program at USP, who discovered she had breast cancer after following up on a self-examination.
"It did worry me when I felt something that wasn't there before.
"I was able to get some further diagnosis and it was actually so small and at such an early stage that it didn't show up on the mammogram and it was only when I had a biopsy that it showed up," Ms Tarte said.
"I guess that is the key thing that I would emphasise.
"You do need to always be on the lookout, and the sooner you can discover something, the better.
"And in my case, it was very straightforward.
"I just had to have the lump removed, there was no spreading anywhere."
She said discovering it early did not only increase her chances in beating the disease, it also cost a lot less.
"I think people sometimes prefer not to know because they don't want to know.
"But if you do find out early enough, it does not need to be a big deal."
Although discovered early, she labelled her experience as "scary", particularly because she did not know a lot about breast cancer.
She cited family and friend support and good medical advice as the main factors that got her through her treatment.
"I think that once it has been explained to you, the process, how you can deal with it step by step, you get a feeling you're in control."
Ms Tarte urged women not to be afraid to follow up on anything suspicious.
"It will usually turn out to be nothing, but it is better to be sure."