Women urged to screen for cancer

Nicky Webb, with a group of farmworkers, shows how to check for lumps in your breasts.

Female farmworkers at Durbanville Hills wine estate have been encouraged to love their breasts by screening for cancer regularly.

The initiative is spearheaded by non-profit organisation ILoveBoobies, established by mother-and-daughter team Nicky and Kim Webb three years ago to promote an active and healthy lifestyle, which reduces the risk of cancer, while also raising funds and awareness for the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA).

Cansa and ILooveBoobies are taking cancer screenings to communities, using a mobile clinic offering tests including clinical breast examinations, prostate specific antigen(PSA) blood tests to detect for prostate abnormalities, healthy lifestyle risk assessments, as well as Smokelyzer tests, an awareness tool used to detect the percentage carbon monoxide in your lungs.

Nicky said they relied on donations and profits from selling branded ILoveBoobies socks to fund the project and bring mobile health screening services to remote towns and villages in the country.

“The name raises a few eyebrows as you can imagine, but it has been fantastic what we’re doing. Up to date we have raised over R400 000 doing this kind of work,” said Nicky.

About a hundred women have been screened at the Durbanville Hills wine estate, over a period of two days. They are also given a demonstration on how to check for cancerous lumps in their breasts.

Nicky said while the project was proving to assist a lot of women with early detection, some women were still afraid to participate.

“The number of women we get is high, I mean working with Cansa assists us in the volume, but a good number of women are reluctant to get tested, no one wants to think they might get cancer,” she said.

Cansa’s Naasiha Dada, who was on site at the screenings, urged men to also get tested.

“Many of them need to get their prostates checked, for abnormalities they may have but most men don’t want to go through it because the exam is uncomfortable. We encourage men to brave it because prevention and early detection give you a better chance of catching and treating it early,” she said.

The workers of the Durbanville Hills Trust, who have a stake in the estate, support this initiative.

“We always get behind projects such as these, for the betterment of our employees. Once they get screened,and if gets a diagnosis, Cansa refers the people to a doctor and Cansa will give feedback to the trust and we will take it from there,” said Juanita Adam, a trustee of the Durbanville Hills Trust.

Like any charity, Nicky said, their biggest challenge was a lack of funding. “Each screening costs about R250, so we have to rely on selling at least five pairs of socks to make sure we cover it. We really need assistance in that regard,” said Nicky.

* For more information, log on to www.iloveboobies.co.za