About three years ago, one of my colleagues decided to share the sad news that he’d lost his aunty after her battle with breast cancer. At the same time, another of our colleagues revealed that his own aunty had recently overcome the same condition.
These opposite experiences really struck me and got me thinking about the issue of breast cancer in Ghana. I hadn’t realised that it is the second-highest cause of cancer deaths in women of our country. And I was unaware of the extent to which it affects men, too!
Armed with a desire to help raise awareness and promote early detection, myself and a few male colleagues came together one day, and the ‘Pink Boys’ movement was born.
Not just a women’s issue
We hoped that being men and tackling an issue traditionally associated with women would draw interest, and we weren’t wrong! There were lots of questions initially, but these soon turned into passionate support and advocacy.
We began by wearing pink on Wednesdays and encouraging everyone in our office to do the same. As well as making a visual statement, we also wanted to improve people’s knowledge, so we would share breast cancer trivia, facts and figures, with information about where to find out more.
Sometimes we arrange for medical professionals to come in and host talks and seminars on the topic. During one of these talks, we heard the story of a screening where six out of 10 men had some form of early stage breast cancer they were unaware of. That came as a surprise to many of us.
There’s been a lot of support for the Pink Boys and our mission. People are keen to learn more and our CEO, Mansa Nettey, is fully behind the initiative. Not only does she join branch visits to spread awareness, but she also participated in a Run for a Cure event where she and some members of the country Executive Committee joined us on a walk with students and residents of the Abelemkpe community.