MONROVIA- In commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Liberia, the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Liberia’s chapter in collaboration with the Economic Development Training Program has intensified the awareness to reduce the crippling effects of the disease, mostly among women.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, held in October every year, was created in 1985 to promote screening and prevention of the disease, which affects about 2.3 million women worldwide, according to the WHO.
Speaking at an event marking the awareness campaign, Doctor Theresa Akoto Bamford of the JAHMALE Medical Solution called on Liberians, mostly women and girls, to be vigilant in the detection of breast cancer to ensure a healthy lifestyle which is essential to their wellbeing.
“If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor. Also, ask your doctor when to begin mammograms and other screenings based on your personal medical records,” she encouraged.
Madam Akoto -Bamford indicated that seeking medical treatment early is a holistic approach in all efforts to seek health and wholeness for everyone, noting that, “cancer doesn’t come with pain but women should always do medical check-up.
She called on women, with the support of men in Liberia, to rise and shine the spotlight on breast cancer, adding that Liberia cannot be whole until everyone stands in solidarity with, and supports breast Cancer survivors and pushes awareness on a daily basis.
For her part, YWCA-Liberia Program Manager Barzeah Youlo Msowoya said the early goal of breast cancer awareness month is to educate women about the disease and detection tests so that they can lead healthy lives.
“One of the key goals to achieve this is to promote mammogram as an important tool to be used in the fight against breast cancer”, she said.
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. For many women, mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.
Giving a brief historical background, Madam YouloMsowoya explained that the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was launched in October 1985 through a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of imperial chemical industries to promote mammograms as the most effective tool to fight the disease.
As for Liberia, it was first launched with an outreach session in November 2020 in partnership with the Liberian Cancer Society which seeks to overcome local challenges and provide free screening, she said.
Though October is designated as the awareness month, she advised that the fight against breast cancer should be a continued process and a topic discussed throughout the year in schools, offices, churches and Mosques, among others.
Since 1985, there has been sustained awareness against the global menace. Known best for its pink theme color, the month features a number of campaigns and programs — conducted by groups ranging from breast cancer advocacy organizations to local community organizations to major retailers aimed at supporting people diagnosed with breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer – a breast cancer that spreads to other parts of the body, educating people about breast cancer risk factors, stressing the importance of regular screening, starting at age 40 or an age that’s appropriate for your personal breast cancer risk and fundraising for breast cancer research.