What Africa Is Doing to Raise Breast Cancer Awareness

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According to statistics on breast cancer in women in South Africa, 1 in 29 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer. One organization in Africa is The Cancer Association of South Africa. This organization is not limited to breast cancer, but is more comprehensive and is inclusive of all cancers. More information about this organization can be found at www.CANSA.org. One thing for sure, PINK is an international color for breast cancer and October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

While mammograms are used in Africa, this site brought forth information about two screening tools I found to be very interesting. The first is the SureTouch breast screening device and the other is the Donna Glove breast lump detector. The SureTouch breast screening device was just launched in South Africa in September of 2010. This device is said to be reasonably priced and can be used in mobile clinics and small offices. This is a non invasive and radiation free device which is able to palpate and sense breast lesions up to 4 times more sensitive than palpation, and can map lesions as small as 5mm. It uploads the images and can be printed in seconds or stored in electronic records. It is available in other areas of the world.

The second tool in South Africa being utilized by women is the Donna Glove breast lump detector. The Donna Glove is a specially developed glove that can be used by women at home to detect even sugar grain size lumps. To be honest this is the first time I have even heard of the Donna Glove. This glove was developed in Italy, and is now being promoted in South Africa to enhance self breast exam. What I find very interesting is the SureTouch breast screening device and the Donna Glove look very interesting and even have scientific data showing efficacy, and neither of these items are widely broadcast for use in the United States.

Based in the United States is a non-profit organization promoting breast health awareness in East Africa. This is a Breast Cancer Initiative East Africa. More information about this organization can be found at www.breastcancerafrica.org. This organization is “dedicated to take the lead in the advancement of breast cancer surveillance and improved survival rates targeted to the most neglected population in the low income communities of East Africa.” (www.breastcancerafrica.org). What is most moving about this site and information obtained through researching breast cancer in Africa is the overall lack of access to care, and the ability to pay for care even if properly diagnosed. It brings an attitude of gratitude to know we live in the United States. While health care can be expensive, through programs and foundations, the majority of women in the United States do have access to care and a chance at treating and beating breast cancer. Take a little time today and research breast cancer in third world countries. You will then realize how blessed you truly are.

Next week: Let’s travel to China and Japan!

Joyce Harrell, RN, OCN is an Oncology Registered Nurse and Wellness Coach. Joyce provides education and workshops on a variety of subjects relating to the health and wellness of cancer patients and their families, as well as the general public. Joyce practices integrative care, which is adding (not replacing) integrative therapies to conventional medicine.
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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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