Editorial comment: Early detection important

Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Rosy Akbar. Picture: FILE

Minister for Women and Poverty Alleviation Rosy Akbar made an interesting point yesterday. While speaking at the Pinktober and International Rural Women’s Day celebrations in Ba yesterday, Ms Akbar said women hide their problems.

She stressed the importance of women coming forward to seek help for their needs.

Women hide their problems, she said, because they think if their family comes to know about it, “how will they see her?”

She noted “there is a stigma with breast cancer”. “But let me tell you the reality of breast cancer according to the women I’ve met and from the survivors, it is a disease.

“It is a disease, but you are still you and there is medical help available.” This month is annually associated with breast cancer awareness. We have pointed this out before, that on a global scale, the objective of the World Health Organization Global Breast Cancer Initiative (GBCI), according to its official website, is to reduce global breast cancer mortality by 2.5% per year, thereby averting 2.5 million breast cancer deaths globally between 2020 and 2040.

Reducing global breast cancer mortality by 2.5% per year, it stated, would avert 25% of breast cancer deaths by 2030 and 40% by 2040 among women under 70 years of age. It stated the three pillars toward achieving these objectives are: health promotion for early detection; timely diagnosis; and comprehensive breast cancer management.

Back on the home-front, as Ms Akbar said, there are health centres and divisional hospitals to assist those suffering from breast cancer.

“There is a myth that only when you grow old then you will get breast cancer,” she noted. “That is not true. We need our mothers, our daughters, our aunts, nieces and grandmothers to please get a check done just so that you clear yourself from this disease or detect it early if there is a problem.” There can be no doubts about the importance of early detection.

We are reminded about the fact that there are many triggers of cancer like lifestyle habits, eating habits and so on. In saying that, we are encouraged to embrace early detection and early treatment.

It goes without saying that there will always be sceptics who will fall back on alternative treatment before they eventually end up in hospital, sometimes in serious condition.

Early detection must be encouraged and raised as part of the response to fighting any form of cancer.

This is why we firmly believe the message of Pinktober is important.

Acknowledgement is due to all those working behind the scenes to bring some sense of relief, reassurance and normality to those suffering from breast cancer.

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