World over, one in eight women is afflicted by breast cancer. In India, one in 22 women suffers from the disease. Yet, there is little awareness.
HealthCare Global Enterprises Limited (HCG), South Asia's largest cancer care network, headquartered in the city, on Friday organised a 'pink umbrella walkathon' as part of the 'pink October month' to create awareness about breast cancer. About 600 people, including famous Sandalwood actors, students and breast cancer survivors were part of the walkathon, which went from Siddaiah Circle to Kanteerava Stadium, under a protective cover of pink umbrellas.
"It was a revelation that more women in cities are diagnosed with breast cancer than their rural counterparts. There is need for lifestyle changes to keep the disease at bay," said filmmaker TS Nagabharana, as he participated in the walkathon. The filmmaker has been lending his support to the campaign for the prevention of breast cancer for the last 20 years. He even has a film on the subject. "The need to get tested early cannot be stressed enough," said artist Shan Re. One of Re's paintings was donated to the Swasti Art Gallery, also a part of the HCG. "There are mental blocks about breast cancer. That is why most women won't even think of getting a mammogram done," said artist Romi Revola.
Actor Ragini Diwedi said, "It is not so complicated, really. Awareness and early detection are necessary, to keep breast cancer at bay." "As an actor, one plays the character that the script demands," said the actor, when asked why cancer is often depicted in the movies as a death sentence. Among those walking under pink umbrellas on Friday were students of the Oriental College of Nursing, the Al-Ameen College, and the Institute of Business Management and Research.
Cancer survivors sought to spread hope to all those afflicted. There were members of the Pink and Hope Breast Cancer Survivors at the walkathon, a group with 386 members. "There is no need to panic. One can manage the disease with chemotherapy,"says Sashi Venkat, one of the five women who founded this support group for breast cancer survivors. "Cancer is no death sentence, as the movies will have you believe. Technology has changed all that. It is time to get in touch with new trends in treatment," she said.
"The Pink and Hope Breast Cancer Survivors meet once a month, and plan activities," said Dinesh Madhavan, director, marketing, HCG. He explained that the removal of the breast was long considered the safest way to prevent the spread of breast cancer and deal with the disease. However, there is a move to preserve the organ, and women now have a range of options in treatment and cure of breast cancer. "Those with genetic predisposition to the disease need to come for early testing. Basic self examination at home is necessary," he said.
HCG is also selling merchandise like umbrellas, ribbons, T-shirts and lapel clips, which will be sold across 20 locations in the country. Proceeds from the sales of these items will go towards the treatment of patients who are unable to afford medical expenses, said Madhavan.
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