No one should face breast cancer alone

Boitumelo Maswabi
L-R: Gothi, Mbaembae & Lelatisitswe

KGK Diamonds offers free mammogram screening to their employees

KGK Diamonds, a multinational diamond cutting and polishing company that established its impressive state-of-the-art local factory in Botswana in 2105, commemorated Breast Cancer Awareness Month last week by extending their Corporate Social Responsibility strategy to their employees.

- Advertisement -
No one should face breast cancer alone
KGK Staff members

In accordance with the 2023 theme, “No one should face breast cancer alone,” the company partnered with Stage 3 breast cancer survivor, Miss Millennium Botswana 2023, Betty Mbaembae, who gave an emotional yet uplifting motivational talk on the benefits of early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

The staffers also received free mammogram screenings from Village Imaging, who recently acquired a state-of-the-art Mobile Diagnostic Clinic equipped with advanced medical imaging technology.

Officiating at the commemoration, guest speaker, Assistant Minister of Health, Sethomo Lelatisitswe, reiterated that breast cancer is a critical issue that cuts across communities and expressed gratitude towards KGK Diamonds for sponsorship of free mammogram screening at the event. “As Minister of Health, breast cancer awareness month holds a special place in our home and therefore this gathering serves as a testimony to our determination to combat this formidable health threat.

- Advertisement -
No one should face breast cancer alone
KGK Diamonds CSR Engagement with Stakeholders in the fight against cancer

I believe that by coming together, sharing knowledge and supporting one another, we can drive positive change and empower individuals to take charge of their health, and we will learn a lot from Miss Millennium, Betty; today the focus is on her.

Breast cancer is not just a medical concern because it touches the very fabric of our society; it affects our mothers, daughters, sisters and friends.”

- Advertisement -

The assistant minister said that though cancer is a growing concern, stories of hope and resilience like that of Betty should inspire those in attendance that cancer can be defeated.

“We are privileged to hear from Ms. Betty, a beacon of strength and courage who has battled breast cancer and emerged victorious. Her journey is a leading testament to her power of determination; early detection, and access to quality healthcare. Her story underscores the importance of regular screening, self-examination and seeking medical advice at the earliest sign of concern; that is why gatherings like these are essential because they empower us with knowledge to recognize the warning signs and also provide information about available resources and encourage us to support those who are on this challenging journey. Let us reaffirm our commitment to spreading awareness about breast cancer and indeed other cancers and let us pledge to advocate for early detection, ensuring that every person in our community knows their risk and understand the steps they can take to protect themselves. Let us strive to create an environment where individuals can discuss their concerns openly and without stigma and where access to quality health is a right and not a privilege,” he said, adding companies such as KGK Diamonds have set a remarkable example of corporate social responsibility in promoting the wellbeing of citizens.

- Advertisement -

The lady of the moment, Betty, shared about her battle with stage 3 cancer which, despite consequential challenges – mental, physical and emotional – she managed to win thanks to her strength of character.

She said she first discovered she had cancer in 2016 after she repeatedly found stains in her bra, which she mistook for food stains.

- Advertisement -

“It was only after the second stain on the same spot that I realized something was amiss. At the time, I was not sick: no pain, no weight loss but I noticed a discharge on the nipple. I had very little knowledge about the symptoms of breast cancer.”

The courageous Betty said what followed was a period of anxiety as she regarded breast cancer a death sentence.

After she had finally plucked up the courage to seek medical assistance at local clinic, she was dismayed the doctor misdiagnosed her.

“He said, ‘don’t worry, this is just breast milk’. I was curious to know why my body was producing milk; my last born was 5 years at the time, neither was I pregnant. The doctor said that it was due to a brain tumor that produces prolactin (A hormone that signals a woman’s breasts to produce milk during pregnancy and breastfeeding). He ordered tests, whose results I’ve not received to this day,” she explains, adding she later, in February of the following year, sort a second opinion. “The second doctor I saw referred me to Princess Marina Hospital for a mammogram.”

After waiting several months to start treatment due to the patient backlog at Marina, though still not sick, she had developed a lump, with an inverted nipple as well as discoloration.

“It is said cancer is a silent killer. That is why you have to rush to a health facility at the slightest sign of cancer. I was born courageous; I grew up knowing that you lose or win a battle in your mind, so I told myself I am going to undergo all treatment to fight this monster!”

Indeed, Betty’s quick action saved her life. She did a biopsy, which confirmed she had cancer stage 3B, and immediately began 8 rounds of chemotherapy, after undergoing a mastectomy on the affected left and lauds her surgeon for doing a great job.

“I felt that the stage didn’t matter, that instead what mattered was that I’m going to fight with everything I’ve got to stay alive. I also did 17 more cycles of hormonal therapy – Herceptin -¬¬¬ and was referred to GPH for radiation,” she said, and promised to continue spreading awareness about the importance of regular breast cancer screenings and self-examination.

Village Imaging Radiographer and Sonographer, Rudo Bidi, reiterated the 2023 theme that no one should face breast cancer alone.

No one should face breast cancer alone

“If someone comes to you and says, ‘I feel a breast lump,’ let’s encourage them because that is the only way we can fight cancer.”

Director, Nita Bhagat, said as part of their commitment to improving healthcare access and promoting early detection.

“Our mobile unit provides Mammogram, Ultrasound Testing Services and soon to be X-Ray. The mammogram and ultrasound machine are essential for breast cancer screening and early diagnosis. We believe that the Best Protection is Early Detection.”

No one should face breast cancer alone
The Mammogram & Ultrasound Mobile Testing Unit

KGK Business Development Manager, Siddarth Gothi, said they are conscious of the impact that breast cancer can have on individuals, families, and communities.

“This is why we strive to support the cause with initiatives like this. We are proud and privileged to play an instrumental role in supporting our employees through the campaign. We believe that everyone deserves to live a long and healthy life, and we’re committed to doing our part to make that happen for our employees and society. Let’s make a difference together with awareness, prevention, and action,” he said in conclusion, adding out of the 500 employees, they have around 250 women who benefitted from the campaign.

Leave a comment