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Pink October |10 October 2023

Pink October

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A time for education, support and hope


Every year, the month of October is dedicated to raising awareness about breast cancer, a disease that affects millions of women and their families worldwide. Breast Cancer Awareness Month serves as a platform to educate, support, and inspire action towards early detection, prevention, and treatment. This annual observance, marked by a sea of pink ribbons and various events, is a time to reflect on the progress made in the fight against breast cancer and to acknowledge the challenges that still lie ahead.

Breast cancer forms in the cells of the breasts. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women almost everywhere in the world. Although it can occur in both men and women, the disease is far more common in women.

In Seychelles, the Ministry of Health operates a dedicated Cancer Programme Unit, managed by Gina Michel, who emphasises the importance of early detection. Ms Michel said they have comprehensive clinics and recently conducted a campaign on Praslin and plan to be on La Digue on October 14.

“There is a noticeable increase in cancer patients, and Seychellois are proactively seeking treatment upon diagnosis. We offer various tests, including BMI, diabetes, blood tests, and mammograms at government cost. We encourage everyone to come for testing.”

Cancer Concern Association (CCA), with over two decades of existence, supports cancer patients by alleviating the fear associated with the disease. Dinaz Van Der Lans, CCA's chair, shared this year’s activities including 20 awareness sessions led by CCA member Gina Laporte. “We received several donations and have contributed to the oncology unit and hospice, financially assisting over 20 patients. We also held a gala night to unite cancer patients and friends for fundraising.”

For Pink October various organisations have joined in with outreach awareness sessions at Seypec and a Urology campaign at Perseverance since the start of the month.

A free breast screening campaign in partnership with private clinics is taking place from October 9 to November 9, where interested individuals would have to contact their office for vouchers. Preference would be given to those aged 40 and those with family histories of cancer.

Other activities include a healing service at the Anglican Cathedral On October 13, at 4.30 pm, a presentation at the oncology unit on October 17, and an outreach awareness session at the University of Seychelles on October 19.

The Pink challenge campaign will take place on October 20 where all organisations are encouraged to wear pink and share photos on CCA's facebook and Instagram pages.

On October 21, Ms. Van Der Lans invites families to join a Charity Fun Day at Codevar.

Throughout the month, various organisations will also conduct outreach awareness sessions.


Signs and symptoms of breast cancer may include:

A breast lump or thickening that feels different from the surrounding tissue; change in the size, shape or appearance of a breast; changes to the skin over the breast, such as dimpling; a newly inverted nipple; peeling, scaling, crusting or flaking of the pigmented area of skin surrounding the nipple (areola) or breast skin and redness or pitting of the skin over your breast, like the skin of an orange.

If you find a lump or other change in your breast — even if a recent mammogram was normal — make an appointment with your doctor for prompt evaluation.


Campaigns worldwide

One of the most recognisable symbols of this solidarity is the pink ribbon, which has become an international symbol of breast cancer awareness. During October, we see pink ribbons adorning clothing, products, and public spaces as a way to show support and solidarity with those battling breast cancer.

Participating in Breast Cancer Awareness Month does not have to be limited to wearing pink or donating money, although these are certainly important actions.

You can also make a difference by taking the following steps:

Get screened: If you are eligible, schedule a mammogram or encourage a loved one to do so. Early detection is key to better outcomes.

Educate yourself: Learn about breast cancer risk factors, symptoms, and prevention strategies. Knowledge is a powerful tool in the fight against cancer.

Support local organisations: Consider volunteering or donating to local breast cancer support groups or charities that provide assistance to those in your community.

Share your story: If you or someone you know has been affected by breast cancer, share your experience to inspire others and raise awareness.

Advocate: Support policies and initiatives that promote breast cancer research, early detection, and patient care.



Seychelles NATION had the opportunity to speak with a breast cancer survivor who graciously agreed to share her story anonymously. She recounted her journey, saying, “In 2020, while taking a shower, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my breast. As I touched it, I could sense a lump inside. The pain persisted throughout the night, and the following morning, I sought help at the hospital's casualty department. After an initial examination, they prescribed painkillers. However, my intuition urged me to seek a second opinion from a private physician who, after performing an ultrasound, identified a mass. He promptly contacted Dr Telemaque to arrange an appointment, and I was swiftly admitted to the hospital for a biopsy.”

Reflecting on that period, our survivor became emotional and recounted how everything happened rapidly. She shared, “In July 2020, I underwent surgery and was offered the option of chemotherapy. However, I chose to seek a second opinion in London, UK, in September 2020. After extensive testing, I was advised to undergo radiotherapy. Upon returning to Seychelles, following consultations with my doctors, I was referred for radiotherapy sessions at MIOT Hospital in India.”

What proved to be a source of strength for our survivor was the unwavering support of her family and friends, who offered continuous prayers. She emphasised, “God is good all the time! In 2021, 2022, and 2023, I went for check-ups in India, and so far, there is no evidence of cancerous cells. However, it is crucial to remain vigilant, as cancer can recur in different areas. If you are fortunate, you may not experience it. That is why regular check-ups are essential.”

Expressing her concerns, she added, “We should not wait until a certain age to undergo tests. Those with a family history of cancer should be particularly vigilant. The Ministry of Health should actively promote second opinions. When we hear about cancer, it often feels like a death sentence. When I learned of my diagnosis, I continued living life as usual, incorporating exercise and eliminating canned foods from my diet. Nowadays, cancer does not discriminate by age. I implore the Ministry of Health to monitor advancements in medicine and the technologies used for cancer detection. As the world evolves, we must also adapt and face reality.”

During the Pink October, Seychelles NATION sympathises with all the victims of breast cancer and wishes quick recovery to all who are undergoing treatment.


Compiled by Vidya Gappy


Seychelles in figures

Type of cancer






Jan-Jul 2023






















Mouth and pharynx
















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