PINKTOBER – Girls Are Super Heroes Too

And I personally know one.. I call her MOM. My mom is a Breast Cancer Survivor.. She is one of the bravest and the strongest women I have ever known!

My father fought Lung Cancer for three years and then passed away peacefully in September 2014. For those three years, my mum was his pillar of strength, his care-taker, his companion and his primary support. She, very meticulously took care of his diet and medicines, accompanied him to his numerous appointments and radiations and prayed for his health day in and out… It was the longest, most exhausting and emotionally draining three years of my parents’ life.

6 months after my dad passed away, and while my mom was still struggling to cope with his absence in her life.. and had not fully recovered with the loss of a life partner of 45 years.. (they were married for 45 years), Cancer crept back in her life again. She was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer, which was detected during a routine annual mammogram.

She had the cancer surgically removed and then had her radiation done to ensure any surrounding cancer cells were destroyed as well. So, before my father’s first death anniversary, she had fought and defeated Cancer herself! That must have been the toughest year for her.. and I say ‘must have been’, because she never broke down.. neither did she ever complain.. she fought like a Super Hero!

As most of you already know that, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer – the fighters and the survivors.

October (also called as Pinktober for its association with Breast Cancer),Qatar’s Hamad Medical Corporation, set up awareness booths at various malls, an awareness forum that arranged lectures on Breast Cancer awareness, a mobile breast screening van and FREE screenings for women aged between 45 – 69 years with no symptoms at all. For more details visit their site and register to get the screening done.

There were various awareness and fundraiser ‘PINK’ brunches, teas and dinners around Qatar, a number of social events with people wearing pink clothes and wearing pink ribbons in support of people who have fought or are fighting Breast Cancer. Many of you must have attended these events too..

But how many of you actually got your screening done?

How did you assume that you can’t be a victim?

It CAN happen to YOU! It can happen to ANYONE!

Did you know?

• Breast Cancer is the most common Cancer in women.

1 out of 8 women are diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime.

• Breast cancer is the second leading cause of Cancer death among women.

• It has nearly a 100% survival rate if detected early.

Though the annual screening is recommended after the age of 40, the clinical and self examination should be done for ALL women and should start as early as age 20.

Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.

Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening.

The recommended age for screening is 40 years but I have seen people in their twenties and thirties diagnosed with Breast Cancer as well. So get yourself clinically examined, even if you are have not reached 40 years of age!

Since my mother had Breast Cancer, that is a high risk factor for me and hence I get my mammogram done every year (even though I am still in my mid thirties).

So please just don’t ‘WEAR’ pink ribbons in Pinktober, make this as a reminder to get your annual exam done. Get your mother, sister, wife, daughter and friends to visit the screening centers or a doctor to get their examination done, even if they have NO symptoms at all!

Because, early detection is the key to winning the fight against Breast Cancer!

By Shehar Bano Rizvi

By Shehar Bano Rizvi



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