The breast cancer movement has come a long way. There once used to be very little discussion of the disease and the women struck by it, but all that has changed and it’s partly due to the efforts of The Estee Lauder Companies and their Breast Cancer Campaign (BCC).
Today, the iconic pink ribbon is the ubiquitous symbol of breast health. It’s part of the movement founded in 1992 by the late Evelyn Lauder. The BCC is the American beauty giant’s largest corporate philanthropic initiative – one that is a global leading voice for breast cancer, igniting a worldwide movement.
The Campaign has raised more than US$79-million to support global research, education and medical services, with more than US$65-million funding 260 medical research grants through the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which was founded by Evelyn Lauder.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women (like all these celebs who have battled breast cancer) and it is increasing, particularly in developing countries where the majority of cases are diagnosed in late stages. Every 15 seconds, a woman is diagnosed with the disease, according to 2018 global cancer statistics from Globocan, which estimates cancer incidence and mortality produced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, across 20 regions in the world.
Breast cancer affects us all – physically and emotionally, men and women.
According to the Singapore Cancer Society, the most common cancer among women in Singapore is breast cancer, making up 29.1 per cent of all cancers in Singapore.
Breast cancer affects approximately one in 11 women in their lifetime (to age 99) in Singapore with 1,850 women diagnosed with breast cancer, and over 400 die from the disease each year. Majority of the women affected were aged 45 to 64.
While the numbers may tell one story, the survivors tell another. Three women share their personal journeys to give others hope, confidence and inspiration.
Janet Ng, 44, makeup artist and business owner
On Janet: Cotton tie front blouse and pants, from Pinko
A double mastectomy is viewed by many women as a personal tragedy. But for Janet Ng, she took on a practical mindset that all is not lost – and she would be able to undergo breast augmentation thereafter.
“If my breasts had to be removed, then they had to be removed,” she recalls. I know there are women who have a deep attachment to their breasts, but I was alright with removing them”.
The 44-year-old makeup artist was not surprised when the doctor told her she had breast cancer in 2017. Ten years before that, she had a benign lump in her breast but it was a non-cancerous lump.
In March 2019, Janet was diagnosed with liver and bone cancer. This time, thoughts of death floated through her mind, and she was worried about her 10-year-old daughter, whom she shares a close relationship with.
Janet tells Her World: “Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, I feel that I’ve changed remarkably. I don’t let what others think about me bother me as much as before. I pay more attention to myself, and I withdraw from people who don’t make me feel happy.”
A big part of her change is attributed to her family, close friends and a strong support group of people whom she got to know from Breast Cancer Foundation.
The mother-of-one says: “We don’t choose to have cancer, but we can choose how we want to live after cancer. This is what I want to tell others.”
Indeed, Janet had taken control of the situation when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017.
“I shaved my head before everything dropped off,” she remembers. “I prefer to do it myself, rather than see everything drop out and get stressed over it.”
“I wasn’t too bothered, to be honest,'' she says of her bald look, wearing a wig to meet her clients. Janet set a one-month deadline to grief, as life must go on.
Keeping fit is paramount, and it’s one of the major changes in her lifestyle.
Janet, who also runs a bridal gown rental business takes walks at MacRitchie Reservoir and Lower Pierce Reservoir at least once or twice a week.
She has also become diet conscious, limiting her intake of meat to once a day.
Janet says: “Self-care is an important part of staying positive, too. I shop regularly for sportswear because one still has to look good while exercising. And I pamper myself with massages twice a month, along with occasional manicures. When you look good, you feel good.”
Photography Veronica Tay
Art Direction Alice Chua & Ray Ticsay
Styling Dolphin Yeo
Makeup Dollei Seah
Hair Ash Loi at Sonder Hair using Keune products assisted by Aung Apichai