Advocacy on breast cancer should go beyond October
The past weeks have seen a lot of campaigns on breast cancer as October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of the disease and support for those affected by it.
Many organisations have held different events and engaged breast cancer survivors to share their stories as ways of encouraging more people to get screened for the disease.
The media have also offered their platforms for survivors and other advocates, with some media houses spearheading campaigns and partnering other organisations to educate people and provide free screening for the public.
In addition to free physical breast examinations, some health facilities, especially the privately owned, ran discounted services on breast scans and mammograms to reduce the financial burden involved.
While The Mirror appreciates and commends these groups, individuals and organisations for keeping conversations around breast cancer going throughout the month, we are calling for continuous campaigns on the disease as breast cancers do not only start in October.
In recent years, statistics on the disease show that younger women are being diagnosed as compared to the past when most of the people diagnosed were older women.
Experts also state that women who get regularly screened for breast cancer have a 47 per cent lower risk of dying from the disease compared to those who do not.
It is for these reasons that The Mirror is suggesting more of such screening exercises throughout the year so that more women, especially those in rural areas could be screened.
In some situations, delays in visits to health facilities, delays in diagnosis and delayed treatment have led to loss of lives which could have been prevented.
We believe that the impact of the breast cancer menace goes beyond affecting the already overburdened health service to have an impact on society as a whole.
Advocacy on the subject must be sustained beyond October as some people, particularly those with no family history, assume the disease is far away from them.
The Mirror acknowledges the efforts of survivors and some people still going through treatment for adding their voices and sharing their difficult experiences despite the stigma associated with such narratives.