Botswana Medical Aid (Bomaid) in partnership with Liberty Life launched pink Fridays’ campaign to reach out and sensitise the public on breast cancer. October is a cancer Awareness Month. Bomaid’s Medical Advisor, Dr Botho Mhozya said they are doing a lot for their members as far as cancer is concerned because it is one of the leading causes of death. She said research has shown that twice as many people die from cancer than from HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. “What is more alarming is that 60% of those diagnosed with cancer worldwide are from this region in Africa, Asia and South America and 70% of these deaths come from this region,” she said, hence the need to take action. She said Bomaid has from 2013 paid out P39 million and that shows the extent as to which cancer is affecting the people in Botswana.
She said that it is important for people to take care of themselves, eat well and refrain from things like tobacco use because those account for 20% of global cancer deaths. She said that it is important for people to adjust their lifestyles and do more screenings in order to increase the chance of early diagnose and treatment. The Patron of Botswana Cancer Association (BCA) Dr Gloria Somolekae hailed the involvement of new partners in reaching out to Batswana to help them change their lifestyles. “There is no family in this country that is not aware or that does not know a family struggling with cancer, and it is up to us to go back to the fundamentals,” she said. Dr. Somolekae said it is important for people not to be stuck in the past but rather they should stop thinking that cancer is the disease for certain people but knows no boundaries, class, educational level and it can come from any household.
Liberty Life Managing Director Lulu Rasebotsa said they will run the campaign throughout the month of October and encourage the public at general to wear pink on Fridays, and will particularly be thrilled to see men taking part because when a woman is affected by breast cancer then the nation at large is affected since women are the mothers of the nation. Cancer survivor Mphoentle Dimbungu related how she fought the monster that is cancer where she has had two of her breasts removed. She said having parents that both died from cancer with her mom dying from cervical cancer, her dad dying from prostate cancer and three uncles, she knew she had to be careful and always screened herself at home.
She said a mammogram was done on her after she found a lump through her home screening and she was told she should remove the breast right away as the cancer was in stage two. “I did not look back because I saw my mum through it all and after the surgery everything changed and I got weak,” she said, adding that she relied on prayers and meditated on scriptures because she did not want to die before she could see her children grow. “My lifestyle had to change. I had to be selective with the food I ate,” she said. She said she is now cancer free and urged those in the same process to understand that through faith and a change in lifestyle, they can live to tell their story.