Today’s post is a bit more serious, but so necessary with October marking breast cancer awareness month, and with the cancer cause being very close to my heart.
“Every year 14 million people worldwide hear the words “you have cancer". More than 100,000 of these diagnoses are to South Africans, with 1 in 8 males and 1 in 9 females developing cancer in their lifetime - a frightening statistic that is continuously increasing.”
The first course of treatment for cancer is always surgery and if the cancer has spread to other sites in the body, chemotherapy and radiation therapy is necessary. Surgery usually leaves patients with unsightly red scars, particularly in breast cancer (causing women to feel less feminine) and even more in skin cancers. Whilst it maay seem superficial to be worrying about a scar when one has cancer, the scar remains as a reminder of the battle one has fought.
Oncologists encourage patients to treat the scars (they heal over a period of 6weeks - 3months) first with micropore and thereafter keeping it supple with moisturisers.
Even more damage is caused to the skin with the chemotherapy resulting in dry, flaky skin, skin rashes and blisters in certain cases. Radiation causes skin burns causing the skin to become sensitive and painful, and resulting in pigmentation and scarring.
Bio Oil have been doing amazing work with their Look Good…Feel Good programme, which highlights the effect that cancer has on the skin. They have educated over 30,000 patients, by hosting 2 hour workshops to small groups of patients in over 39 hospitals and clinics around the country.
‘Helen Ohlhoff, regional co-ordinator for LGFB in Cape Town, says of the 26 visible side effects of cancer treatment, the most common concern amongst the patients she sees, is dry skin. “We tell the patients how many uses there are for Bio-Oil to nourish and soothe the skin. It can be used on the scalp, as there is a lot of irritation when the hair starts growing back, for dry skin and chapped lips, and to prevent nicks and tears in the skin. Many patients share their own uses for it, and we get a really good response for Bio-Oil.”’
A look Good…Feel Better workshop was held at Groote Schuur and Bio Oil documented this in a video.
Stay Strong, and become the voice of a survivor.