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Friday November 23, 2012

Foundation holds symposium to educate cancer survivors

All in pink: Group photo of participants at the symposium. All in pink: Group photo of participants at the symposium.

ACCORDING to Pink Ribbon Wellness Foundation, the only way to fight breast cancer is through education.

Its mission is to educate and empower women on breast health care and support cancer survivors, while advocating preventive measures.

One of the strategies was realised last month when the Foundation held an international symposium titled “Life Beyond Breast Cancer” in Kuala Lumpur.

More than 300 delegates, made up of survivors, care-givers, breast care nurses, volunteers, from all over the country attended the symposium.

There were also a few delegates from Lebanon, the Philippines, Singapore and Papua New Guinea.

The symposium was launched by Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

“The more people who are made aware of the symptoms of breast cancer, how to examine themselves and where they can turn to for help, the better the chance that it will be caught early and through such educations improve chances for survival,” Ng said.

She donated RM50,000, to be utilised over a period of five years as award to any individual, organisation or society that promotes or contributes to enhancing the breast cancer cause.

Breast surgeon Dr Devanand said more than 40% of breast cancers diagnosed in Malaysia were in the third or fourth stages.

“This is a cause for concern as early diagnosis through education can lead to better chances of successful treatment, improving survival and cost efficiency,” he said.

The symposium highlighted topics on nutrition, immune enhancers, importance of water, spiritual journey, issues of anxiety/depression, importance of sleep, cultural issues and not forgetting technical details on hormones, fatigue and fear of recurrence.

The second day had a hands-on workshop on lifestyle by Avon on “Look Good, Feel Good” and Can Care who presented on cares of prosthesis, bra-fit and managing wigs.

There was also a workshop on financial stress in breast cancer.

The highlight of the conference was a presentation on the third day on Breast Cancer Deadline 2020 and how the foundation can assist in the early detection and prevention of recurrences of breast cancer.

This was followed by a lively panel discussion about various issues pertaining to breast cancer screening, and topics such as current advances of chemotherapy and cost, creating awareness, reasons of success and failures of early detection, cancer drugs fund were also discussed.

Pink Ribbon Wellness Foundation has lined up a series of lectures to be presented to rural women, general public and corporate companies along with breast cancer educational workshops to be held in 2013 and beyond.

The next “Life Beyond Breast Cancer – International Symposium’ is planned for the fall of 2014, in supporting the global efforts of eradicating breast cancer in women by 2020.

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