Eye on cancer

Belinda Aspelling, the programme director.

A health campaign for women was held at the Parkwood civic centre on Wednesday October 18 to highlight breast cancer awareness month.

The event was organised by Geraldine Linde, a social work intern at the Lotus River clinic.

A team of professionals spoke about the importance of regular breast examinations and cervical screenings.

Belinda Aspeling, founder of the Tyneybaskets NPO in Lavender Hill, was the programme director for the day, and she recited a poem.

Rene Daniels, a social worker at the clinic gave the official welcoming address.

Nurse Gadija Dyers demonstrated how a breast examination should be done and encouraged the women to go for pap smears as this could detect early signs of cervical cancer.

Monica Savage, from Retreat, shared her story about being diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago and having to undergo a mastectomy. She said she now enjoyed life to the fullest.

“My message is a message of hope and that being diagnosed with breast cancer is not a death sentence. Early detection can save your life because it saved mine, and it increases the chance of successful treatment and that treatment is chemotherapy.”

Ms Savage thanked the audience for taking time to learn about cancer.

Nurse Ursula Lakay spoke about the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. HPV is sexually transmitted and could be a possible cause of cervical cancer.

She said the vaccine was being administered to girls in grades 4 and 5.

Rachel Davids, a health promoter at Lotus River Community Health Centre, spoke about living a healthier lifestyle.

She encouraged everyone to exercise often and to create their own vegetable garden at home.

The event ended with a thanks from Ms Linde. She handed over gift bags to the first 50 women who arrived at the event, and the crowd received refreshments. At the end of the programme, the women could have their blood pressure and sugar levels tested.