In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in October, NPO Reach for Recovery raised awareness about the disease in Gugulethu.
Reach for Recovery and Gugulethu library invited residents and members of Amanina Community Organisation to the event where they highlighted the risks of breast cancer, the importance of screening and shared stories of survival on Tuesday, October 31.
The NPO said it was its goal to support women in making better and informed decisions with their health.
Volunteer and a cancer survivor, Vuyiswa Marubelela said her organisation is helping breast cancer patients drive their own treatment and recovery journeys.
Ms Marubelela and her colleague Linda Mzilikazi were invited by the library, along with other guests to raise awareness of the impact of breast cancer in society.
She said breast cancer remains the most common cancer especially in the black community. She said the black community is in denial when it comes to breast cancer.
However, she was hopeful that things will change now that an organisation like hers is in the townships. “We want women to realise the importance of a healthy lifestyle. We also want them to know that cancer is not sin and is curable. I am a survivor of cancer too. The organisation is made up of people who are survivors and we support breast cancer patients,” she said.
She encouraged women to check for the signs and to get treatment as early as possible. “If this is detected earlier chances of survival are huge. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer it was early. I went to do my usual check up and the doctor noticed a lump. It was later confirmed that it was breast cancer. But because it was detected earlier, here I am today,” she said.
Another survivor, Ms Mzilikazi also provided expert advice to women. She said people should not be scared because now there are more options for treating breast cancer and detecting risks earlier than ever before, especially with regards to genetic abnormalities associated with breast cancer. She added that the impact of breast cancer reaches far beyond physical health, affecting emotional well-being, relationships, and overall quality of life.
She said her organisation brings hope and support to the patients. She encourages a healthy lifestyle for women. “As this organisation, we are advocates for black people especially those who are scared to come forward. We have targeted townships because people are not coming forward, they are scared.There is nothing to be scared off. Let us be proud of ourselves, exercise, eat a healthy diet and do away with sugary and salty foods including fizzy drinks,” she added.
She said patients must be encouraged to seek resources to know how to speak to their doctor, and doctors must support them in turn.
Librarian Mandisa Xhotyeni was happy that they have provided a platform for women to become more informed about the illness. She encouraged women to register with the library.
She said the library was there to serve the community in times of distress too. She said it was important for them to come, read and use the library for their projects.
The dress theme of the event was pink dresses with hats and white sneakers.