It may not be a nice topic that we wish to think about or discuss very often, particularly as it can be a sensitive subject if you know someone who has suffered from breast cancer or a scare. However, the disease’s prolific nature is exactly why we need to talk about it — and why a whole month is dedicated to increasing awareness about this malicious malady that so many women are bravely fighting on a daily basis.
As many as one in eight women experience breast cancer in the United States — every two minutes a woman is diagnosed and it is the second leading cause of death among women. According to the World Health Organisation, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, and it affects those in countries at all levels of modernisation.
Although it cannot be prevented yet, it can be detected early in order to give women the best chance to lead a full life. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and, as part of this annual campaign, here are just a few of the ways you can help to give the women around you the life-saving information and compassionate support that they need.
- Host a fundraiser
- Share educational content on social media to spread awareness
- Download the free breast health guide by the National Breast Cancer Foundation — What Every Woman Needs To Know
- Make a once-off or regular donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation or to a local cancer organisation. By donating to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, you will be helping to distribute copies of the aforementioned eBook to women, so as to give them the opportunity to be proactive about their health. Your donation(s) will also contribute towards helping women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer to overcome the fears and misinformation surrounding the disease through the foundation’s Beyond The Shock and Patient Navigator Program initiatives, and it will make sure that every woman who needs a mammogram receives one through the National Mammography Program.
Early detection, education and support are three key ways that we can curtail the effects of this pernicious affliction. Fortunately, death rates from breast cancer have been declining since the end of the 20th century, which is partly thanks to better screening and early detection, continually improving options for treatment, and increased awareness.
If you are a woman reading this, be aware of the need for regular check-ups and ensure you have appropriate medical cover in the event of any such misfortunes. And if you are a man reading this, with women in your life whom you care about, encourage them to do the same. Also don’t be too complacent yourself because everyone is born with some breast cells and tissue that have the possibility to develop into cancer. Breast cancer in men is usually detected as a hard lump underneath the nipple and areola, and although diagnosis is rare, there is a higher mortality rate for men than women because awareness among men is less, which results in greater delays in seeking treatment.
In South Africa, it is important to be correctly insured to ensure that you have access to the services of detection and treatment that you deserve. Take the time this month to read carefully through any current health insurance policy that you may have, to update it if need be, and to organise one if you have been meaning to. Don’t hesitate to arrange a meeting if you would like to make this a financial priority and discuss any elements of your financial health at the same time.