The ABC’s of ABC: Advocates for Breast Cancer

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A = Advocacy is all about giving voice: giving voice to the truth that is silenced by economic and political convenience, and giving back the voices to those robbed so unfairly of theirs. The driving goal behind this dynamic coalition of South Africa’s breast cancer organisations is to actively stand together as a powerful collective of patients, survivors, medical experts, activists, stakeholders AND the South African nation as a whole — to raise our voices in a shout the whole world will hear, and one which our government won’t be able to ignore!

B = Of Beastly Boobs that Betray: We’ll be telling your stories, as well as those important stories of our government patients who are most devastatingly affected by the glaring absence of an equitable and effective breast health policy.

C = Current Care: Right now, we can only say the standard of current care is, well… careless. And, to quote wise old Dr Seuss: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Let’s get caring: actively!

D = Detection & Diagnosis: “Breast and cervical cancer are leading causes of cancer-related mortality in South African women. Early detection of breast cancer is imperative to improve survival rates. However, public awareness is lacking and healthcare facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease, particularly in the public sector, are inadequate. A cancer alliance, Advocates for Breast Cancer (ABC), was formed in 2014 to campaign for a national breast healthcare policy for South Africa to prioritise the management of this disease.” ( http://www.scielo.org.za/ )

E = Exposing, Educating & Empowering: The cold, hard facts about breast cancer in South Africa MUST be exposed to the even colder, harder light of awareness and scrutiny: South Africa, and indeed, the world, must be alerted to what’s wrong and how government needs to make it right.

Education about breast cancer, from monthly self-examinations right through to diagnosis and treatment, is absolutely vital. Knowledge is power! 

F = Fight for a Brighter Future: this can only happen if committed, in-it-for-the-long-haul, proactive choice-making is entered into by patients, survivors, activists, stakeholders, medical experts and government. Patients and survivors must be and have an undeniable right be educated and empowered – so they can make their voices heard, and get their rights recognised, acknowledged and met in a timely manner. The medical experts also need to consistently choose to be collaborative allies with each other, joiining together as supportive, healing teams around their patients — instead of ego-bumpingly disagreeing and delaying progress and healing.

G = Government: Is government currently a citizen-centric healer or a deliberately ignorant hurter?

H = Healthy, Happy & Hopeful: ABC invites you to join them, using your very own resources of hope-in-action and unique skills to urge government into healing our desperately diseased breast health system.

I = Infectious! Passionate advocacy is contagious: get advocating! Raise your voice! Sing! Shout! Blog! Tweet!

J = Journey: though ABC‘s meeting with government and stakeholders is set for just one month away, the process of seeing an equitable breast health policy officially instituted will take significantly longer than just one meeting. We’re in it for the long-haul, guys!

K = Kindness is Key! 

L = Lobbying & Legislature: an equitable and effective breast health policy can’t be magically changed with just one swish of a political magic wand: only persistent, passionate lobbying possesses this power!

M = Mammograms & Metastasis: we’ll be investigating the exact stats and facts about how our government patients are experiencing their diagnosis, care and treatment.

N = NATIONWIDE equity of care is a critical component to be considered in how a new breast health policy must be designed. At the moment, treatment and care differs (vastly and unfairly!) from province to province.

O = October is Breast Cancer Month — and the month we’re going to rock the breast health policy boat!

P = Pushing to make Policy a Priority! Read this article on Health-e by Sue Segar about what happened last year with the government and stakeholder meeting about policy!

Q = Quitting: “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” Lance Armstrong, Every Second Counts

R = Radiology: As with the mammograms, we’ll be looking into what the situation is in terms of both technological advances, as well as the state of radiology in our government hospitals.

S = Statistics: We have found trying to get our hands on tried and true statistics just about impossible! And, we’re asking, ‘Why?’

T = Treatment: Just as each one of us is unique, so no one breast cancer is alike. This means that each patient’s treatment needs to be specifically designed to meet each one of their needs.

U = Unity: “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” — William Faulkner

V = Voices! Whilst we think our lone little voice may be too insignificant be heard, it is when we join all the other voices in powerful harmony, that the whole world will stop and listen – and be moved to action.

W = ‘WINNING the FightversusCancer as a Journey’: there has been a global paradigm shift in how cancer is being perceived and processed from ‘fighting it as a battle‘, to instead ‘journeying through it – step by step‘, learning to relish the views from the mountain tops, and moving at your very own pace through the darker, scarier, lonelier valleys. How do you feel about this?

X = Xpress Yourself! Whether you are an employer frustrated on behalf of one of your recently diagnosed staff, a daughter whose mother can’t afford treatment, a doctor looking to use her compassionate expertise and voice to advocate on behalf of her patients or a survivor who wants to make her very own difference, expressing your concerns, dreams and hopes in the best way you can is what will move mountains! We’d love you to jot us a comment at the bottom of this blog post, join us on Facebook or send us a Tweet or twenty!

Y = {YOU}nique: what policy must include in its ethos is a definitive embracing of each patient’s unique needs, fears, emotional state and lifestyle situation. And YOU are going to be part of making this change!

Z = And that’s the end!

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