Over the next year, many more breast prosthetics will happily be making their own journeys to La Penita – in time for the 2019 Cancer de Mama Clinic on February 1st, 2nd and 3rd!
This year, almost 450 women attended the CdeM Clinic at the La Penita Senior Centre. Support and care was provided to them over three days by over 100 volunteers, from Canada, the USA and Mexico. In the few days before the Clinic opened, heavy winds and rain blew through the Centre, badly damaging the frames that were in place to create spaces and small rooms within the Centre. Using the remnants of the frames which could be salvaged, volunteers pieced things back together and the Clinic was ready again! It was clear though that new frames and canvasses will be needed for next year in order to create safe and sturdy spaces.
One of the newer elements of the Cancer de Mama Clinic has been the development of our Lymphedema Team. Under the very capable direction of Caroline Maze, we have created and trained a team of volunteers who offer support to women who are suffering from lymphedema, a very painful complication which may occur at anytime post-mastectomy. In Canada, about 10%-15% of women will develop lymphedema at some point in their life after a mastectomy. However, at our CdeMC, about 45% of the women we see show moderate to severe signs of this painful and often debilitating condition. The good news is that our team of skilled volunteers are able to identify these women and to teach them how to wear a lymphedema sleeve and how to bandage their arms throughout the night. This can be a rather complex undertaking, but the relief offered by a lymphedema sleeve is almost immediate and clearly evident.
However, our significant challenge is that the supplies needed to provide this level of care have tripled the costs of running the Cancer de Mama Clinic! In the high humidity of the Mexican climate, sleeves and bandages will last only for a year, so need to be replenished annually. Obviously, this has put a strain on our financial resources. As a result, we’ve decided that the time has come for the Cancer de Mama Clinic to hold a fundraiser!