Almost 4% of South African women are affected by breast cancer, which causes 16% of all cancer-related deaths in women. While treatment options are improving, breast cancer is becoming more prevalent.
Many cancer survivors go on to live full and healthy lives with treatment and regular screenings. Various courses of treatment are available including surgery. In the case of breast cancer, this could mean a partial, single or double mastectomy, each changing the shape and size of the breasts, raising many questions for survivors.
Adjusting to life after a mastectomy
Organisations like Power of Pink and Reach for Recovery offer breast cancer survivors the opportunity to share their stories and encourage other survivors.
For many breast cancer survivors, a mastectomy is more than a cosmetic change; there are emotional and psychological changes that affect self-image and how survivors relate to the world around them.
Although reconstructive surgery is out of reach for many South African survivors, Reach for Recovery and Power of Pink have been part of a campaign to give women the next best thing – silicone prosthesis.
The Power of Pink and Reach for Recovery
“Our volunteer members, who are all breast cancer survivors themselves, visit breast cancer patients in state hospitals. They not only provide much needed emotional support, but they also provide them with life-changing practical support,” explains Reach for Recovery’s Management Board Chairperson, Stephné Jacobs.
Having had a mastectomy herself, Stephné says the difficulties faced by women wanting to look and feel the way they did before a mastectomy can be heart-breaking, but they can also be avoided. “One option is silicone prostheses which are properly fitted to ensure that the patients get the correct shape and size for their bodies,” says Stephné.
The pink punnets
Research has found that eating mushrooms daily can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. This finding inspired the pink punnets campaign that has been running for 10 years this year for the benefit of breast cancer survivors.
The South African Mushroom Farmers Association (SAMFA), Pick ‘n Pay and Power of Pink have been working with Reach for Recovery for the past 10 years to raise money to contribute to the buying and distributing of silicone prostheses for women who might not otherwise have access to them.
Look out for pink mushroom punnets in October and Feel extra good about yourself knowing that you’re supporting breast cancer survivors and reducing your risk of breast cancer at the same time!
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