By Danica Cassar – Health Psychology Practitioner
Throughout the year, we commemorate causes and campaigns such as Pink October and Movember. These days help us raise awareness about aspects of our wellbeing and health. However, as one month rolls into the next one, we may find ourselves falling back into forgetting their importance.
October and November are dedicated to the importance of testing for breast or prostate cancer, with an emphasis on the fact that prevention is always better than cure. The purpose of testing and screening is to help us identify any abnormalities within our body early on. Getting diagnosed at an earlier stage can be tremendously beneficial when it comes to the outcome: the chances of remission are higher if you get diagnosed early.
Most of the clients I meet at the clinic often disclose that it can be quite daunting for them to follow through with these routine checks every couple of years. It’s true; sometimes you might be too busy to find time for the appointment, due to work or having a lot going on. It could be that you are scared about what the result might be or believe that it would never happen to you. All of these factors can act as barriers to getting tested. These awareness months are there to help fight the stigma and fear that can surround screening. However, it is important to set a reminder for when your next screening should be as perhaps it might not coincide with either of these months.
Usually when we hear the word cancer, our minds automatically jump to the worst possible conclusion – fear, painful and invasive tests, and even death. However, due to the latest innovations and advances made in medicine and technology, cancer should no longer be looked at as a definite death sentence. It can mean being able to live with it for a very long time, especially if this is diagnosed at an early stage.
Why should you encourage your colleague or employees to do screening?
As I mentioned, knowing what is going on in our body as early as possible can help with better management of the cancer or condition – which often leads to a less invasive and more effective treatment plan, as well as a shorter recovery time. It would be smart to include reminders or information at the place of work to direct those individuals who would like to seek screening, with the aim of increasing the chances of early diagnosis.
Eating well, sleeping enough and exercising are important health habits to practise throughout our day-to-day routine, however, screening and testing are as important and should be done on as regular a bases as possible.
Danica Cassar is a Health Psychology Practitioner and Partner at Willingness Team. She works with a variety of clients who would like to change their behaviours in order to improve their health and wellbeing. She also works with clients who have physical and mental health difficulties.