Oct 15 2021. views 83
In a bid to increase awareness and raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure, Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) is an annual global health campaign organised annually in the month of October. The awareness campaign is important because Breast Cancer is the most common cancer affecting women worldwide, with numbers rising globally over the last few decades. A plethora of studies has posited that the greatest increase will be among women in developing countries, a majority of who live in the Asian region.
As a leading global organization of professionals empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy, the Zonta Club has consistently pioneered a number of important projects over the years. Their recent project organised to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the Zonta Breast Care Cushion project.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror Life on behalf of the Zonta Club, Ganga De Zilwa elaborated on the inspiration behind the project, explaining that “when the project was introduced to the club as a sister project by Zonta Club of Melbourne on Yara, we realized the importance of this project and the benefits - when this innovative cushion is worn after surgery, it will give immense pain relief, physical and emotional comfort and confidence to women after the operation”. Overseen by the Zonta II Mammo Care Group, the project aims to not only support post-op women, but also to provide livelihoods to women. “The Mammo care group has found women from Bandaragama who sew cushions. Through this project, we empower women and promote self-employment”.
Provided as a community service to women in the post-operative stage of breast surgery, the Zonta Breast Care Cushion protects the 'surgical site and allows the wearer to have a free arm movement. It also aids recovery by allowing the woman to sit, sleep and rest comfortably, as well as by preventing injury from bumps while walking around and any discomfort from wearing seat belts. It will also reduce the swelling of the limb due to lymphatic block which usually occurs due to arm movement restrictions. According to the Sri Lanka Society of Breast surgeons Dr. Ajith De Silva, Consultant General Surgeon - National Hospital of Sri Lanka. President – Sri Lanka Society of Breast Surgeons, this cushion provides tremendous comfort and protection to the patient during the recovery process'. The breast cushions are ideal for the Sri Lanka climate as they are made with cotton lawn and designed using high thread cotton yarns which results in a silky, untextured feel and is lightweight.
Those requiring Breast Cushions can contact the Mammo Care Group via WhatsApp or email to receive the cushion free of charge. The group also distribute the cushions via the Association of Breast Cancer Surgeons.
De Zilwa elaborates that the “Mammo Care group will continue this project as an ongoing project as there is a demand for this ‘Zonta Breast Care Cushion’. Although the club has undertaken this worthy project, our ultimate aim is to reduce breast cancer in Sri Lanka by conducting awareness programmes in the communities for the early detection of breast cancer. With the help of the Education & Health Ministries, we would like them to teach all-girls schools regarding breast cancer awareness and early detection”. The Club will also be spearheading a host of programmes during this month including free mammograms to individuals. These free mammograms are sponsored by Durdans Hospital and Ninewells Hospital Pvt LTD.
"Zonta Club II also conducted a 2-day Training Programme for Nurses in Breast Care Nursing was in February 2019 in Colombo, for nursing officers of the Ministry of Health in Breast Care nursing in partnership with the “Zonta Cares” Project of Botany Bay Australia and the National Cancer Control Program of Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. This was the first such workshop held in Sri Lanka. The Australian team and local team prepared the training contents and the Australian team provided experiences from Australia including the training module. The workshop consisted of interactive learning, practical hands-on training, role plays, inpatient counseling etc. Nearly 50 nurses participated in the programme which consisted of a pre and post-test evaluation" she added.
Photo courtesy Zonta Club II