The month of October is considered Breast Cancer Month worldwide. It is the month in which Cimas joins the world in commemorating breast cancer survivors who have defied all odds by taking responsibility for their own health so that their breast cancer could be detected and treated early. Many of these women are now on the road to recovery.
During this month we encourage individuals to wear pink clothes and/or ribbons as a symbol of their awareness of breast cancer. There is a general misconception that the month of October is Cancer Month. This is not true. October is Breast Cancer Month.
We believe that, despite having specific months, days and colours for commemorating different types of cancer, every month is a cancer month and every day is cancer day. Thus, we need to take responsibility for our own health on a daily basis, by ensuring that we are not putting ourselves at risk of developing cancer and by supporting those diagnosed with cancer.
The Cancer Association of Zimbabwe’s 2017 theme, which is “We Will Triumph Over Breast Cancer”, encourages the nation to find out more about breast cancer so as to counteract the current widespread cancer myths and misconceptions and the stigma and discrimination often suffered by victims of cancer. It is only through united efforts that we will be able to triumph over breast cancer in Zimbabwe.
- P – Practise what you know. For example do physical activities and monthly breast self-examination. Avoid obesity and tobacco use/smoking. Eat healthily and reduce alcohol intake.
- I – Investigate cancer Information. Find out the facts and distinguish facts from myths and misconceptions about the cancer itself and the available treatment options and coping mechanisms. Know what has been proved to work.
- N- Normal for you. You should know what is normal for you regarding your body and your breasts, such as the texture and shape of your breasts, so that you easily notice abnormalities early to promote early detection of breast cancer.
- K – Knowledge. Know the truth about cancer so that you can make informed decisions early, before the cancer spreads. Feel free to ask health practitioners about your condition so that you can control and manage your treatment plan. Even those without cancer need to know the truth about cancer so that they have an insight into how best they can prevent cancer and assist those diagnosed with cancer. (Cancer clients, more often than not, require family and community support to cope with their condition.) Knowledge also helps to reduce stigma and discrimination by dispelling myths and misconceptions about cancer.
Cimas encourages those diagnosed with breast cancer to keep on fighting and not lose hope, despite the challenges. There are ways to prevent cancer. Cimas has taken the initiative, through its iGo wellness programme, in supporting lifestyle modification activities such as healthy eating and exercise. Members can also access breast cancer treatment information on the back of their cards. Cancer knows no gender and has no age barrier. For
those who want to know more about accessing treatment and their treatment options, please visit any of our offices for more information.
– The information in this article has been provided by the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe together with Cimas.