By Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and celebrated Globally: The theme this year is GIVE HOPE. SAVE LIVES.
In Sierra Leone, the lack of awareness is a major national issue, which is why so many women, girls & men present with late-stage cancer. "My people suffer for lack of knowledge." Sierra Leone is a low-income country and lacks infrastructure for a disease that is curable if detected early. To date, patients' have to travel to the sub-region, India or developed nations for treatment, including Radiotherapy.
Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation is a national NGO on a mission to raise awareness about Breast Cancer Nationwide. The Foundation also source funds to assist financially challenged diagnosed women, girls and men through their prescribed treatment pathway. We have noticed an alarming rise in Breast abnormalities not only among older women but also school-age girls. In most cases, people assume that self-medication can treat a mass or lump. Over-the-counter medications such as mentholated rub, antibiotics, local herbal treatments or even spiritual healing are commonly used. Unfortunately, they would access the Foundation only when the condition persists. Usually too late, leading to cases of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma stage three (3) Cancer in school girls as young as 16-18 years, leading to Mastectomy Surgery (removal of the breast).
There is an urgent need for an intense sensitization campaign nationwide. It is essential to understand what signs and symptoms to look for and detect the lump at its onset.
What is Breast Cancer?
Breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer among women worldwide. It is the most frequent cancer amongst both sexes and is the leading cause of death among women from cancer. Breast Cancer is a disease in which cells in the breast grow out of control. Cells usually form a tumour that can often be seen on an x-ray or felt as a lump. If spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels, it becomes advanced breast cancer. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body (such as the liver, lungs, bones or brain), it is said to have metastasized and referred to as metastatic breast cancer.
Signs & Symptoms:
The most common signs and symptoms of Breast Cancer noticed and ignored by women/ girls are lump, thickening, rash, nipple discharge, sudden change in size and shape, discolouration of breast, nipple itches, breast pains, tenderness and inflammation.
Some Risk Factors:
Age- getting older
Genetics/ Family history of Breast or Ovarian Cancer
Personal history of Breast Cancer or certain non-cancerous Breast
Being Overweight or Obese after menopause
Exercise- not being physically active
Taking hormones- long term use of contraceptives,
Stress and anxiety.
Excessive Alcohol intake & smoking cigarettes
Every day the equity gap in Cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment costs affects precious lives. Two-thirds of our population lack access to the full range of essential health services.
Financial constraints on women living in low-income countries are burdensome and a significant challenge for Breast Cancer management. Little attention is given to the plight of diagnosed Cancer patients. Health is indeed a Human Right! Our health system needs strengthening and restructuring to provide adequate and affordable health services to all Nationals. Cancer should not be a death sentence because of geography.
The disparity of Breast Cancer in Sierra Leone is vast compared with other countries around the world. Therefore, addressing the challenges of Breast Cancer Care, stigmatization, and sourcing funds in Sierra Leone is a real struggle.
"Thinking Pink" believes that "No one should die of Breast Cancer because of geography and poverty". We have been making strides together with Local and International partners in the fight against Breast Cancer by raising awareness Nationally and assisting financially and emotionally challenged diagnosed patients. Still, we have a long way to go. As a Foundation, we continue to thank Local & International partners, corporations, individuals and anonymous donors for their selfless support and donations towards Breast Cancer awareness and treatment support for diagnosed patients and the furtherance of the Foundation.
Our Mission is to raise awareness through social mobilization campaigns, media engagement, visitation to schools, deprived communities/ markets and institutions/ corporations. All in a bid to raise awareness and encourage women/ girls to be screened and know their Breast Health Status; "Early Detection Saves Lives".
October Events 2021
Due to the unprecedented Covid-19 and its protocols, we regret to inform the world that we have postponed our popular Freetown half Marathon 2021.
We shall instead be hosting “PINK FRIDAY” in the form of a Health Fair and partnering with CitiGlobe to offer other Health related services such as Hepatitis, Blood/Sugar and Blood Pressure check up on October 29th at our office address 32 Pademba Road/Wesley Street junction starting at 10:00 am.
We shall also be hosting our fancy dress & fundraising “Pink Party” event at Mango Peak, Hill Station on the 30th October with ticket cost at seven Hundred and fifty Thousand Leones (Le 750,000).
We will visit secondary schools, deprived communities, market places and corporations/ institutions.
Your donation will sponsor a newly diagnosed school age girl through her treatment options.
• Mastectomy Inclusive cost: Six Million Leones (Le 6,000,000)
• Chemotherapy Inclusive cost: Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Leones (Le 2, 500,000)
• Lumpectomy Inclusive cost: Two Million Hundred Leones (Le 2, 000,000) per cycle.
Schedule your appointment for Breast Health check and know your Status.
Women over forty (40) get your mammogram.
Fifty Thousand Leones (Le 50,000) or invite us to your office to sensitize and offer Breast Screening for the same amount per staff.
Cancer is Real!
Please visit our website and make a Donation towards a worthy cause to help save a life.
Every Life is precious! Thank You!
# Together, we can fight cancer.
Facebook: Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation
Address: 32 Pademba Road, Freetown.
Tel: 232 78 611 733
Further resources about breast cancer and its causes can be accessed at The Mesothelioma Center here: https://www.asbestos.com/cancer/breast/