HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 587: 27 October 2011

A Foundation for awareness
Behind many of the advances we have seen in this country with awareness, screening and diagnosis of breast cancer, is the Cook Islands Breast Cancer Foundation (CIBCF). Incorporated in 2004, CIBCF is an organisation that was set up to ensure breast cancer awareness donations given within the Cook Islands stayed within the community, in order to help the local people of the Cook Islands. The foundation’s focus is mainly on creating awareness, as well as arming Cook Island women and their families with the information they need surrounding breast cancer. Dawn Baudinet, President of the foundation, said, “We have self breast examination pamphlets out in all the pharmacies and at Ministry of Health in Tupapa. If you don’t know how to do this, we suggest that you just pick up one of those pamphlets.”
In addition to this they work closely with the Ministry of Health. “The French government had donated a mammography machine to the Rarotonga hospital. They used it once in 2003, and it didn’t get used again until 2006 or 2007 – but that was just through the foundation lobbying government to get this machine working. We had no-one here qualified [to use the machine] - we had no radiographers, we needed breast physicists, we needed a team – but we managed to do it, after three years of just pushing, pushing, pushing.” The Ministry of Health now pays for a team from New South Wales, Australia, who come up to Rarotonga every year to assist with the breast screening programme, thanks to the efforts of CIBCF. The specialists who come up are part of a team of eight in total needed to run the full screening program. Baudinet said of the screening program, running for about the last four years, “it has worked. It’s been a success. We’ve got women who are asking now to have their mammogram – so the barriers have been slowly breaking down over a five year period, getting to the local women.” The foundation also flies women in from the outer islands to get checked out.
Breast Cancer Awareness month in October is a highlight of the foundation’s work. Businesses and organisations are welcome to host fundraising events if they’d like to donate to the cause, however Baudinet urged any organisation thinking of doing this to first get in contact with any of CIBCF’s board members. Baudinet has been working closely with Breast Cancer patient Ura Tangaroa in sharing her story with the women Cook Islands, as part of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Baudinet’s message to the women of the Cook Islands: “Early detection – those are the key words.” She also encouraged women to be “breast aware”. She said, “Don’t be frightened of them. They are there so look after them.” And for those who are diagnosed with breast cancer, “Make sure that you seek advice, get support - talk to your family or a friend or your husband.” Cook Islands Breast Cancer Foundation merchandise is available to purchase from Annie Fisher at Fishers Jewellers. Contact the foundation for further information regarding breast cancer, support groups or the Cook Islands Breast Cancer Foundation. Ngariki Nagtae

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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