Breast cancer and the high price rural folk pay

Pink power: Pang (third from right) and her fellow Kinabalu Pink Ribbon members hope to make it easier for rural folk to seek treatment.

KOTA KINABALU: Many women, especially those from poor families, opt to seek traditional treatment when they detect lumps in their breasts, says Kinabalu Pink Ribbon association president Lucilla Pang.

“It involves a lot of costs for the lower income group,” she said.

Based on their work on the ground to create awareness about cancer, she said the association found that many people, especially rural folks, were scared to seek treatment.

“We hope to widen our scope of work and create awareness because many still prefer to keep quiet or seek traditional treatment when they have lumps in their breasts, which could be an early sign of breast cancer.

“Hence, we hope to expand our branches to other parts of Sabah, creating awareness on early detection and treatment options, but we need a lot of help to make this work,” said Pang, who is a breast cancer survivor.

She said a pressing objective for the association was to work towards establishing a permanent halfway home for breast cancer patients and their caretakers.

This would mean better services to the community, she added.

She said the association was currently using a house provided by the Prima Jaya developer, which was not a long-term solution.

“So, we need to get a place of our own by raising funds and hopefully getting some funding from the state government so that breast cancer patients, especially those from lower-income groups and rural areas, can benefit from it,” Pang said.

She said that the organisation, which has been creating awareness and providing support to breast cancer patients for 12 years, needed the halfway home to grow and serve the community better.

“We see many patients from rural areas having to spend a lot of money on accommodation and transportation when they can barely afford to do so,” she pointed out.

Besides having to suffer the effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she said patients and their families also had to worry about their financial situation.

Pang said the Kinabalu Pink Ribbon had more than 500 members, most of whom are cancer survivors.

The association, she said, was scheduled to hold its annual pink ribbon walk in conjunction with Mothers Day in May and a fundraising gala dinner in October.

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breast cancer , traditional , treatment , rural


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