Nandhini, a Rotaractor from PSNA Engineering College and a Pink Warrior of RC Dindigul Queen City, D 3000, talks to her college mates about breast cancer and how it can be self-detected. “Initially they giggled and made fun. But the PPT and lecture from the oncologist who is also a Pink Ambassador made them wonder, what if they got it? Now they share this information with their family and friends,” she says.
Pink warriors are college students who are roped in to spread awareness on the dangers of breast cancer and the need for prevention and early detection.
“My mother’s battle against cancer was demanding and it distracted our attention about post-treatment impact,” says PP Ananthajothi, RC Dindigul Queen City. “The pricking and piercing was over, but the true pain began when she had to deal with the fact that her breast was removed, following which she slipped into depression.” Dr Sharmila, a member of RC Queen City, says: “This happens when women are not aware of post-mastectomy stress. The trauma of fighting cancer and having either or both breasts removed takes a toll on her confidence, affecting her emotional well-being.”
At the hospital where her mother was being treated, Ananthajothi saw girls in their late teens undergoing treatment. “As a survivor, my 65-year-old mother was not willing to accept the change in her body. How would these young girls cope,” was the question that troubled her. According to oncologists from the Indian Medical Association, eight out of ten Indian women suffer from breast cancer and most of the patients are under 20. But Club President Rethinamala has some good news. Early detection and advanced treatment can prevent mastectomy. “Our pink ambassadors and pink warriors will run awareness sessions throughout the year to support early detection,” she says.
At the club’s ‘Dindigul Turns Pink’ initiative, 4,000 girl students from 12 different colleges, doctors and Rotarians participated in the formation of a human pink ribbon at Achyuta Academy. It helped create awareness on breast cancer and post-mastectomy stress for young girls from nearby villages too. A screening camp at the event site co-hosted by Devaki Hospital, Madurai, screened 200 women. Six women from medical and political backgrounds were honoured as Pink Ambassadors and 100 students enrolled as pink warriors.
The guest of honour DGE M Muruganandam lauded the club’s efforts for spreading awareness and enhancing Rotary’s public image.