Written by: Frederick H
REDUCING THE RISK OF HAVING BREAST CANCER
Every single day has its own handles to jump over, even when we are all aware of the fact that we are never the same, despite the fact that we live in the same communities.
We never have the same opportunities, even though our challenges are similar. In a world where we are faced with new challenges every single day, we should never tire looking for the right solutions. Of late, different kinds of cancer have eaten away the peace of several individuals and families in different geographical areas, be it in developing or developed countries. Even though, there are different types of breast cancer, the results are similar and devastating. Breast cancer does not discriminate, but there are higher numbers amongst the females as compared to males. It is important to note, breast cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. According to world health statistics, breast cancer is usually common amongst older women, but current revelations show that 11% of new cases thrive amongst the younger females – girls. This therefore calls for awareness amongst the young ones and in actual sense the improvement of the quality of health of those who have survived the cancer at a tender age. Think of it this way. “Your only daughter of 14 has survived breast cancer after several months of energy draining treatment, how far are you willing to challenge yourself to keep her believing in her future.”
At Prince Wako foundation, we have a lifelong commitment towards the girl child. Empowering them and seeing to it that their dreams never catch paths towards the graves. The way we as individuals choose to handle the young breast cancer survivors plays a very important role in their growth and development. We are here to be part of this growth and development regardless of the challenges. Not only with a mammoth of words but with persistent and effective action. Over the years, we have gathered data on challenges that have stalled the development of the girl child, more so in developing countries. It is important to note that statistical data from Mulago cancer institute in Uganda, emphasize the fact that the number of women with breast cancer is on the rise. This means, there are several who suffer quietly and in actual sense die silently without being aware of the ‘thing’ killing them, breast cancer. Can we now take this up as one of the challenges, to have a wholistic approach towards empowering girls? One girl may lack school fees, another may lack shelter but another might have to battle breast cancer. This is a battle no human being should be left to battle alone.
It is important to know, breast cancer is caused by things and lifestyles that we associate with, every single day. Some can be avoided and others we find ourselves deeply attached to them and usually it is too late once we find out their devastating effects. There are known risk factors which can be avoided, like drinking alcohol. On the other hand, having a family history of the breast cancer in the family makes it so hard to avoid. This does not call for alarm, the majority of factors like being inactive, being overweight and alcohol can be dealt with aggressively while some one still can.
In Uganda, the cases of breast cancer have doubled over time. Unfortunately, most cases are detected while the cancer is in its later stages. This says a lot about the lifestyles of the people. People rarely have health checkups, people are not aware of the risk around them and effective health facilities are out of reach.
This is a wakeup call for everyone. Awareness in this regard is very important and thus early detection must be encouraged. Girls should be taught how to check themselves for any possible signs and symptoms. This should not only be limited to urban areas. The technique of self-check, where a female stands in the mirror and carefully observes her breasts for known symptoms and abnormalities can be widely spread all over the country through designated awareness sessions. Prince Wako foundation prides itself in carrying out awareness and counselling sessions in different girls’ schools in rural Uganda. A seed sown and watered well can generate a big harvest that several generations can thrive on. It is common knowledge, families in several rural areas of Uganda suffer from the effects of devastating diseases just because of lack of knowledge, the lack of awareness. This awareness is a tool that can bring everlasting change.
How can we practically reduce the risk of having breast cancer? Risk reduction can only be done through that which we can control as human beings. This speaks to the lifestyles that make our days. Specialists encourage us to limit the levels of alcohol that we consume, control weight, remain physically active and avoid exposure to radiation. This definitely helps a great deal but most important of all is empowering young cancer survivors to live up to their potential. Cancer survivors should never be discriminated against. Isolation of any kind should never be tolerated at any cost. Since this battle should never be left to be fought by a single individual, we need to stand together as a people that wishes to see a better world, to create awareness and fight cancer in our families and communities.
As we join the world on this 4th of February 2020 – World cancer day, we bring to your attention the fact that 9.6 million people die from cancer every year and this number is predicted to double as years pass by. Most of these cancers are preventable and nothing should stop us from practicing the available preventable measures. Having knowledge of someone who has been touched by this disease should become a wakeup call for each and every one of us. Let us keep the fight alive, let us raise awareness unceasingly, encourage treatment, prevention and empower the survivors to live a better life.
We got our digital cancer ribbons ready, where is yours?