Take the Challenge and Fight Breast Cancer

Thousands of women will take to the streets of Emmarentia and surrounding areas on Sunday October 7, when they take part in the SPAR Women’s Joburg Challenge.

Almost every woman taking part will know someone – a relative, a friend, or even just an acquaintance – who has experienced the trauma of breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among women and is no respecter of age or status. One in 28 South African women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. But the good news is that most breast cancers are treatable, if detected early. Research has shown that regular self-examination plays an important role in finding breast cancer. A breast self examination should be done once a month, preferably at the same time of day.

Mammograms also play an important role in detecting breast cancer and can often mean that women are able to keep their breasts, because the cancer is detected early. CANSA recommends that women over 40 have a mammogram once a year, while women over 55 can stretch that to every two years.

For those women who have to have mastectomies, there is support in the form of Reach For Recovery, a non-profit organisation run entirely by women who have had mastectomies.
The volunteers, who are trained to become counsellors, will visit the patient, either in hospital or at home, and explain what is going to happen to them. Because they have been through the experience themselves, they are able to empathise and quell fears.

They also provide each patient with a ‘comfort pack’, which includes very soft cushions to go under the arm, and pretty floral bags in which to carry the post-operative drains. They also supply under-privileged women with prostheses, to boost their self-esteem after surgery.

For many years, Reach for Recovery has been the designated charity of the SPAR Women’s Joburg Challenge which comprises of a 10km race and 5km Fun Run. The money raised is vital for the purchase of the cushions and the material to make the bags.So when you enter the race, you can rest assured, knowing that your entry fee is going to a very good cause. And look out for the women in pink t-shirts, who will be only too willing to talk to you about their experience.