Image courtesy: Elsupanova Creations. NB:the opinions and thoughts discussed on this matter are not reflective of the image of both organisations.
We are reaching the dusk on breast cancer awareness month, we have found refuge in social media drives to sensitize the public and each other on the disease.
Unfortunately, instead of actual sensitization where we discuss the symptoms of breast cancer, early detections or debunking the stigma around it we have resorted to a frivolous approach to breast cancer awareness, where it begins and ends with the colour pink. Resorting to entertaining ourselves and the public with pink lipstick, pink nail polish and revealing our healthy breasts to the world. Ignorant to the reality that breast cancer buries hundreds of thousands of Africans across the continent.
Making light of the conversation through these acts has actually fuelled ignorance on breast cancer in our community – having it bury more of our people ever so silently. A new reported conducted by the African Cancer Registry Network and American Cancer Society notes that 650 000 African citizens develop cancer annually while 510 000 of those diagnosed later die of cancer. With an 80% mortality rate, it can only decrease if we can detect it earlier, but what kind of intervention is set in our continent to counter the numbers?
Looking over the interventions set to raise awareness, sensitize and aid cancer patients, our developing continent has a long way to go. As it stands, the East African region along with South Africa have managed to set non governmental organisations which assist in early detection, treatment funding and also extends to creating a research work and training people and community members to increase the health response in rural areas.
Also, very few governments in Africa are also taking an affirmative stand, such as the Kenyan government who allocated more funds in the fiscal year of 2014/2015 to cancer; while Safaricom Foundation in partnership with Faraja Cancer Support Trust opened a facility that provides care and support for cancer patients all on a complimentary basis in the country. Yet this is just one isolated story in a pool of silence.
In a better manner of using this month, we should at least spend time on finding and sharing alternative sources of early detection of breast cancer; further taking our information and inclining our governments to share the information in clinics. While we paint our nails and lips pink, let us be aware that we need to push our governments not to leave all the awareness work on NGO’s but to open and source funding to a disease that kills over half a million of our people annually. Let us not be tickled in pink but be driven to work on early detections and support of cancer patients in Africa.