Breast cancer awareness - not just an ‘October’ thing

2016-10-18 06:00
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AS many communities and businesses embrace pink in October for breast cancer awareness, many survivors feel the campaign is a money-making strategy and said that awareness should be all year around, not only one month of the year.

Breast cancer survivor Portia Fete from Molweni said she doesn’t support the pink campaign.

“The ‘pinkification’ does not help women, in fact it just makes them a spectacle and people feel sorry for you when they know you have, or have had cancer.

“Cancer is an illness that can attack one at any time, and I feel that making a hype about it for just one month in a year is not enough.

“This is not like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, where we buy a small ribbon and think we have done the campaign good, and forget about it.

“Cancer awareness needs to be ongoing and funds for research to find a cure needs to be raised all the time,” she said.

Fete asked the community to “think before they pink”.

“Let’s continuously support the fight against breast cancer and make a change all year round,” she added.

Two-time breast cancer survivor Rita Pillay said she is also not a fan of the pink campaign.

She said although it encourages people to get tested and brings awareness to many, breast cancer is a serious illness and should be highlighted all the time.

“There are many women who have the illness and who have died from it. Let us not make only October a month for awareness, rather let’s have regular drives and support groups to give women the strength to fight the illness.”

However, PinkDrive says their campaigns are all year around and travel to semi-urban and urban areas with the aim of enabling medically uninsured access to women’s health services.

These services include free education about women’s health, free mammograms, free pap smears, free clinical examinations and how to do breast self-examinations.

The PinkDrive offers facts about breast cancer:

• when breast cancer shows up on a mammogram, it may have been in your body for six to 10 years;

• breast cancer mortality rates are declining;

• we don’t know how to prevent breast cancer;

• risk of breast cancer increases with age - 50% of breast cancer occurs among women aged 62 and older;

• most people think they have a higher risk of breast cancer than they actually do;

• the mortality rate from breast cancer is higher for African-American women than for Caucasian women;

• hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases your risk of breast cancer;

• I can make a difference;

• Monthly breast self-exams save lives; and

• mammograms can only help, not harm you.

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