Watch: “5 seconds of discomfort during a mammogram can save your life”

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Gertrude Abela has been involved with breast cancer support since she was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 1999, and has been President of Europa Donna Malta and board member of Europa Donna Europe for over 10 years.

When she was diagnosed, Gertrude’s youngest child was only 11 years old, and she had just become a grandmother.

“At the time, I didn’t know anyone who had gone through breast cancer, so I was sort of on my own,” Gertrude told, “I was shocked. And then I found out about Breast Cancer Support, as it was called at the time. Twenty-one years ago, people really didn’t talk about breast cancer if they could help it, but then there are people who want to talk about which is good for the other patients out there.”

There are moments when you cry and cry and cry. But if you give up from the start, it is not right.

One of the most important things, Gertrude found, is to keep positive and also try to keep looking good. “You have to feel good on the outside, even if inside you are feeling sad,” she said, “There are moments when you cry and cry and cry. But if you give up from the start, it is not right.”

Gertrude also stressed the need for womon to ‘know their breasts’ and get checked regularly.

“Sometimes, there are symptoms that you don’t feel; but with a mammogram, they can find it from the very beginning,” she explained, “Do not be afraid. Ok it’s a little bit uncomfortable, but a few seconds, which is nothing… and it can save your life. That five seconds can save your life.”

Europa Donna is an independent non-profit organisation whose members are affiliated groups from countries throughout Europe. The coalition works to raise awareness of breast cancer and to mobilise the support of European women in pressing for improved breast cancer education, appropriate screening, optimal treatment and increased funding for research. It represents the interests of European women regarding breast cancer to local and national authorities as well as to institutions of the European Union.

If you have any questions regarding anything to do with breast cancer, the treatment, the side effects, supporting a diagnosed patient or returning to normal life after treatment, you can call the Europa Donna Malta helpline on tel. no: 99994666.