Representatives of various NGOs and governmental institutions from Kyrgystan, Kazachstan, Russia, Ukraine, Malaysia, US, Estonia and other Eastern European and Middle Asian countries gathered together on 4-5 September for fourth International forum in Bishkek to review advocacy of interests of women with breast cancer in the region. Lithuanian experience on this issue was spoken of by the representative of the “Do Not Delay” project Ms Jolanta Kardelyte.
The presentations of different speakers revealed similar problems and women face similar challenges in different countries: lack of medical professionals – oncologists, low work performance of the checking cabinets in cancer detection, low responsiveness to the national selective mammography programs due to the lack of information, insufficient records, registration and follow-ups of cancer patients, etc. The speakers talked of the taboos that are slowly changing although still alive, especially in cultures like Malaysia. These taboo remain a serious hindrance to breast cancer prevention and successful healing process.
Lithuanian presentation was intended to share the experience cumulated throughout seven years of active work in the area of breast cancer prevention. The participants of the conference were impressed by the results of the “Do Not Delay!” presented by J. Kardelyte. The number of women who had breast check up in the Pink Ribbon bus exceeded 55 thousand this year and more than 500 women were informed on the signs of breast cancer in their body. More than 15 thousand women already had breast examinations within this summer. Similar initiatives of the fund “Healthy Asia” in Kazachstan had almost 10 thousand participants within 6 months this year. The participants of the fourth breast cancer advocacy forum were fascinated by the idea of the “Do Not Delay” to send a “Letter to Mom” send to Lithuanian women every year on the Mother’s Day. This unique and very effective way to approach women through their child.
Fot two days in Bishkek the main theme of the speeches were that working together and sharing the experience we are able to change the fate of millions of people suffering from breast cancer. Ms Ksenia P Koon representing Seatle Cancer Care Alliance finished her speech with the quote of the US president Barack Obama (2008): One voice can change a room and if one voice can change a room then it can change a city, and if it can change a city it can change a state, and if it can change a state it can change a nation, and if it can change a nation it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.