For most women, one of life’s most treasured treats is a heart-to-heart with a close girlfriend over a delicious cup of coffee. During October, coffee loving bosom buddies who pop in to a Mugg & Bean coffee shop will be in for a ‘pink’ surprise. Throughout the month, Mugg & Bean stores nationwide will be serving ‘pink’ cappuccinos in support of breast cancer awareness and education.
Known as the ‘Pink Mugg Shot’, the initiative is a partnership between Novartis Oncology and Mugg & Bean coffee shops. These organisations joined forces on the initiative in a bid to find a novel but meaningful way of encouraging South Africans to think about breast cancer.
Common in SA
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in South Africa1,” says breast health expert, Dr Carol Benn. “But it is also a curable disease if detected and treated early2.”
Dr Benn says about one in nine women in South Africa will get cancer of the breast at some time in their lives.
Talking about the disease with your girlfriends is one way of sharing information and tips about how to detect it. “Nine out of ten breast lumps are detected by women themselves1; so breast self-examination once a month is vitally important,” says Dr Benn. “It’s also important to remember that 90% of breast lumps are not cancer 1, so if you find a lump in your breast, do not be afraid to go to your doctor.”
You should also endeavour to ask for a second opinion when it comes to breast cancer. “The treatment of breast cancer should be suited to you as an individual,” says Dr Benn. “It’s a good idea to consider all treatment options before deciding on any specific treatment.”
She says breast cancer can be treated in various ways, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. “Breast cancer patients may experience fears around their treatment; fear of being sick; in pain, of the side effects; disfigurement and death,” says Dr Benn. “You should discuss these issues with your doctor as many side effects of treatment and surgery can be alleviated3.”
Many women may also worry that treating breast cancer involves losing their femininity, especially if they have to undergo a mastectomy to remove one or both breasts. However, Dr Benn says there have been major advances in treatment so that women can be offered breast reconstruction at the time of cancer surgery irrespective of the type of cancer surgery done.
How to cope
“The more you know about breast cancer and the treatment options available, the better equipped you will be to cope,” says Dr Benn. “Try and speak openly about it with your partner, family, friends and doctor rather than keeping your feelings bottled up.”
Dr Benn says that nine out of ten women diagnosed with early breast cancer will be alive after five years; and those who survive for five years, will very likely live their normal lifespan1.
Show your support for breast cancer awareness by rustling up some girlfriends and heading off to your favourite Mugg & Bean for a round of pink cappuccinos. While enjoying the Mugg & Bean’s fragrant brew, you can show your solidarity with your gal pals by SMS-ing the word ‘PINK’ to 38584. Every SMS received raises R10 for the Breast Health Foundation.
For more information on the Pink Mugg Shot campaign and how you can support breast cancer awareness, please visit the Breast Health Foundation’s website on: www.mybreast.org.za.
(Press release, Bespoke Communications, October 2010)