29 October 2021 – Steward Health Care Malta marked Breast Cancer Awareness Month in its hospitals in Gozo and Malta throughout the month of October, known also as Pink October.
According to the Action for Breast Cancer Foundation Malta, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women but it can also affect men. In Malta, 343 adults are diagnosed with cancer a year. While the causes are not yet fully understood, research shows that you can lower the risk of developing the disease by minimising lifestyle and environmental risk factors and improve outcomes through breast screening and early detection.
Steward Malta has once again supported breast cancer awareness and promoted efforts that help fight and prevent breast cancer.
As part of the symbolic gesture of “going pink” throughout October in support of breast cancer patients and their families, the hospital façades were lit up in pink and promotional and educational materials were made available in the hospitals’ reception and clinical areas.
The Occupational Therapy Department – Physical Section and the Mental Health Occupational Therapy Service collaborated to raise awareness on breast cancer amongst patients and staff at Gozo General Hospital (GGH). October also happens to be International Occupational Therapy Month and, therefore, service users were also involved in the production of keepsakes with the assistance of the occupational therapy staff.
The foyer was decorated with props which were hand made with a lot of care and attention by service users attending Mental Health Occupational Therapy Services at GGH. Pink ribbons were hand made by the elderly residents during their occupational therapy sessions. Pink breast awareness t-shirts were distributed to various departments and were worn throughout the month whilst pink-branded pens where used in the hospitals.
Pink-flowered plants, which were decorated by patients during occupational therapy sessions, were distributed to each department and section at GGH as a sign of remembrance and to celebrate breast cancer survivors. In addition, a plant sale was organised by Steward Malta to collect funds for the Action for Breast Cancer Foundation. The latter sponsored complimentary bras and other items to GGH’s breast cancer patients.
An educational seminar, which was also available online, was held in the auditorium of Barts and the London School of Medicine (QMUL) with the theme “Are we breast aware?” The event was introduced by Josianne Bicker, breast care nurse at GGH and was followed by a presentation on factors that reduce breast cancer, delivered by breast consultant Mr. John Aguis. Dr Pamela Portelli, a senior psychologist, focussed on the psychological implications of breast cancer. Radiographer Josianne Buttigieg outlined Malta’s breast screening programme and Clare Busuttil, Secretary of Europa Donna and a metastatic breast cancer advocate, shared the patient’s journey and the importance of the multidisciplinary team for such care.