Beyond Pink Ribbons: Taking Action in Breast Cancer Awareness Month 

By Sarah Mutimba,
Technical Officer
Gold Star Kenya 

For the 31 days of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), pink ribbons appear as the impact of breast cancer is brought to the forefront of national and global conversations.

But we know that to help those facing breast cancer, awareness alone isn’t enough. This October, get involved. Get screened. Make a donation. Take action. Make this BCAM about more than awareness.

This is a chance for all of us to learn different facts about breast cancer and some of the ways we can show support.

Breast cancer is still one of the most common types of cancers in Kenya

Kenya, like other third-world nations, struggles with cancer control. Thousands of cases of cancers like prostate, colorectal and cervical cancer come up every year and there is still a lot to be done to create more awareness.

Older women have a higher risk

As we age, our bodies start to break down. And when it comes to breast cancer, the older you are, the higher the risk.

The breakdown and mutation of our genes expose us to a higher breast cancer risk. Certainly, younger women can also get breast cancer as well but if you are older, around 50 years and above, you should go for screenings often.

Men can also develop breast cancer

Breast cancer is mainly connected to women and that is because women are the ones who are more at risk due to hormonal fluctuations.

At the same time, men can also develop breast cancer. Although rare, men should also be aware of common symptoms like lumps, discharge and skin discoloration around the breast area.

You can contribute to a cause

In the spirit of breast cancer awareness, you have a chance to donate to patients across the county. Foundations like Africa Cancer Foundation help to donate foodstuffs to cancer patients and, you can even sign up as a volunteer for their projects.

There are also other platforms like Cancer Free Women where you can sponsor a patient's mammogram.

You have a part to play

The government has started many cancer awareness initiatives and is working to increase the number of screening and chemotherapy centers. This is good news but Breast Cancer Awareness Month needs all of us to do our part as well in creating awareness.

Something as simple as helping people be more aware of self-tests and the importance of going for screening can save someone's life.

There are many people who have heard of breast cancer but have never understood some of the risk factors and signs to look out for so, this is something that we can help others learn even within our own families.