A group of women will undertake a 2000 km journey on their Harley Davidsons to promote awareness of the importance of early detection and treatment of breast cancer. These twelve survivors of breast cancer will set off on the Journey of Hope Breast Cancer Ride 2008 on Friday 10 October this year from Johannesburg.
This eight day journey, will lead through Bloemfontein, Colesberg, Graaff-Reinet, Port-Elisabeth, George and Barrydale arriving in Cape Town on Saturday, 18 October.
"One in 27 women are diagnosed with breast cancer of which 17.9% are white women, 24.4% Asian women, 18.2% coloured women and 13.3% African women, " says project founder of this ride Diane Parker.
"Due to ignorance and lack of information and awareness, many women die of breast cancer in South Africa when the picture could have looked much different. Still breast cancer is no death sentence, and that if detected and treated early, the survival rate is 95%."
The Journey of Hope Breast Cancer ride aims to raise funds to pay for twelve reconstruction operations for breast cancer patients who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Parker explains, "Breast cancer surgery such as mastectomy, single or bi-lateral, is paid for by the state in government hospitals, but reconstruction is not, leaving many women disfigured.
Other bike clubs invited
All motorcycle clubs throughout South Africa are invited to participate in the National Breast Cancer Awareness Run on 5 October.
"All you have to do is to register with the Journey of Hope and then organise a local Awareness Run on the same day to join hearts with all women who have travelled the road of breast cancer. This will also help us to spread the word of hope and awareness around breast cancer", says Journey of Hope member, Frieda Henning.
This Awareness Run will be part of the build up to the Journey of Hope Breast Cancer Ride 2008. For more information visit the website at www.journeyofhope.co.za
"We have all heard it said that journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. For the Journey of Hope, that step has been taken into the unknown. This road leads to awareness, wholeness and ultimately, a new journey of hope for a few ladies, who never thought their own dream possible. This is what makes this ride worthwhile", Parker concludes.
More about breast cancer
At the moment breast cancer cannot be prevented, but it can be diagnosed much earlier than before.
Early diagnosis is possible with routine mammography and early biopsy of suspicious lesions. The earlier cancer is found, the better the chances of a cure.
Between 20 and 39, women should have a clinical breast examination every three years, and annually from 39 on.
Between 40 and 50 years of age, mammograms are recommended every other year. After age 50, annual mammograms are recommended.
The following may help prevent breast cancer:
- A low-fat diet (less than 20 percent fat), with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and ideal weight maintenance.
- When cancer is found and treated early, there are more treatment choices and a better chance of recovery. Talk to your doctor about symptoms to watch for, and an appropriate check-up schedule.
- Between clinical check-ups, do a monthly breast self-exam (BSE). Every woman's breasts are different, and they change with age, the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, or taking oral contraceptives or other hormones. It may be normal for your breasts to feel lumpy, swollen or tender at times, such as immediately before a period or during pregnancy. By doing a monthly BSE, after age 20, you learn what is normal for your breasts, and are more likely to detect changes.
- Breastfeeding may slightly decrease risk, especially if continued for 18-24 months.
- Strenuous exercise in youth might provide life-long protection. Even moderate physical activity as an adult can lower risk.
(Liaan Ungerer, Health 24, September 2008)