Breast cancer is a deadly disease that has claimed the lives of women in Sierra Leone due to the lack of knowledge and awareness about the disease and its impeding dangers, and the inadequate medical facilities in the country.
In their continued fight against breast cancer, Thinking Pink Cancer Foundation and the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank have embarked on a two-day health fair campaign and free screening for market women at Guard Street (Dove Cut market) and its environs.
According to Cremelda P. Pratt, Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation has been engaged on sensitization programs to help raised awareness and to advocate with local and international stakeholders on the construction of a cancer unit in Sierra Leone, adding that the centre have been providing free of charge services to breast cancer patients, carriers and their families, at any stage of their journey with the disease.
Admonishing the women on breast cancer and its symptoms, Cremelda Pratt states that the first and most common sign of breast cancer is that the woman usually finds the lump in the breast or it is detected by a screening mammogram before it can be felt, adding that the lump is always present on the breast and does not get smaller or go away with the menstruation circle.
She explained that the lump may feel hard and may be irregular in shape and very different from the rest of the breast tissues.
She further explained that another early symptom of breast cancer is when one of the breast nipples starts to discharge especially if it appears without squeezing and is blood-stained and that a change in breast shape or size, the skin of the breast may become dimpled or puckered and a thickening and dimpling of the skin, redness, swelling and increased warmth, itching of the breast or nipple may be a sign of inflammatory breast cancer, she added.
Speaking as a survivor of breast cancer, Emelia Lebby, explained about her ordeal with breast cancer before undergoing a surgery 14 years ago.
Lebby said the danger of breast cancer can be minimized if it is detected at an early stage and the necessary precautions are taken.
She advised women to go for medical check-up, as to ascertain whether they are cancer free or have symptoms related to cancer, stating that the use of contraceptives can cause cancer for women.
Adding her voice, Inspector Fatmata Mansaray of east-end police station said she lost her mother to breast cancer due to the lack of knowledge they had. Inspector Mansaray therefore urged women to go through the screening process and to take advantage of the facilities provided by Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation.
The Director, Human Resource and Corporate Affairs SLCB, Aminata Kamara said the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank has been working closely with Thinking Pink Breast Cancer Foundation to help alleviate the high rate of cancer in the country by creating a medium for cancer sensitization.
She noted her bank will continue to provide the necessary support to fight cancer and also to provide better medical services for women in the country.
Aminata Kamara stated that the screening process is an opportunity for women to be screened to know their cancer status, as it is important for every woman to know if they are cancer free or not.
By Mariam Bah
Friday June 13, 2014