Breast cancer prevention and cure should be everyone’s business
Over the weekend, people across the Caribbean donned pink shirts and walked and ran to raise awareness for Breast Cancer.
There was a healthy turnout here on Saturday afternoon for the CIBC First Caribbean: Walk for the Cure. It was also reported that thousands of Barbadians turned up on Sunday to walk and run for the cause as well.
In October, the month dedicated to raising awareness for the disease, many opt to raise awareness in several ways, whether by taking part in fun walks, 5K runs or simply by wearing pink on designated week days.
Social media lights up with reminders for women to have mammograms and tips on how to carry out self-examinations.
But how many of us actually take the advice being freely doled out or find the time to truly educate ourselves on the disease?
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), breast cancer is among the most common cancers in women in the Americas.
And while early detection is associated with a better prognosis, it is by no means a cure for the disease.
As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that couldn’t be truer in this case. It is for that reason that women – and men – need to educate themselves on the risk factors of breast cancer and what they can do to help reduce the possibility of developing the disease.
Although men have been known to develop breast cancer, being a woman, one’s age and genetics are the most common factors that are associated with an individual developing breast cancer. Other factors include obesity and lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking and having an unhealthy diet.
The latter factors are ones that can be changed simply by making healthier lifestyle choices, as opposed to the former, which we can do nothing about. By accepting a healthier lifestyle, we are already playing a part in lowering breast cancer risks.
As a nation, we should continue to educate the population on breast cancer and not just in the month of October.
Prevention measures should be taught to our girls at an appropriate age so they can understand the importance of breast self examinations among other self care practices. And our women should not delay in doing mammograms when they get to the recommended age.
Raising awareness for breast cancer should not be a task designated only to the government or health sector.
Members of the private sector should jump at the opportunity to partner with other entities and get involved. A wealth of information is available on the Internet, waiting to be accessed by curious minds. The issue of breast cancer and prevention should be everyone’s business.