Gurure uses photography to fight breast cancer

Nyasha Gurure said her desire was to send a message that African women perfectly understand putting together elements which are in line with their day-to-day work.

LOSING a relative to breast cancer has inspired female photographer Nyasha Gurure to use the art of photography under a campaign themed Let The Pots Cook to raise awareness against the disease.

Her offering coincides with the global breast cancer awareness month, which is October.

According to Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association president Johannes Marisa, in Zimbabwe, breast cancer kills an average of 1 500 women a year with about 6 000 new cases diagnosed annually.

Speaking to NewsDay Life & Style, Gurure said her desire was to send a message that African women perfectly understand putting together elements which are in line with their day-to-day work.

Gurure is using her social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram to raise awareness.

“During my early years, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. I witnessed her struggle, pain and body changes as she later succumbed to it without going for chemotherapy,” she said.

Gurure noted that putting together elements of art to send a message of encouragement and hope to the women was difficult.

“The pots in Let The Pots Cook photograph draws attention to the breast for diagnosis and finally treatment through chemotherapy. The emotions and facial expressions of the model Nyaradzo Nonnie Matanga, show pain at the same time it is a process of healing. The lid is a representation of how breast cancer affects and burdens one’s mind,” she said.

“I created the second concept with model Ruvarashe Zoe Undenge, playing around with pills as eyebrows and pink feathers as tears at the same time symbolising positivity and keeping the head up during tough times, a bald head to illustrate hair loss during and after treatment and finally beating cancer.”

To further disseminate the awareness message, Gurure penned a poem with the same title Let The Pots Cook.

Marisa said it was a huge task to win the fight against breast cancer.

“The common signs and symptoms of breast cancer include a lump or mass in the breast that feels different from the surrounding tissue, blood discharge from the nipple, general changes in appearance of the breast and nipple retraction,” he told NewsDay Life & Style.

“We have three major steps that aid in the diagnosis of breast cancer, the first one being simple medical examination where the breast will be examined by a medical specialist for lumps, masses and obvious changes in the structure of the breast.”

He added: “The second stage is radiological investigation which include ultrasound scan for the breast and mammogram, which are x-rays taken to see if there are any radiological changes in the breast and the third stage for a critical state is definitive procedure for diagnosis which includes biopsy, a procedure that the doctor uses a specialised needle device to extract a core tissue from the suspicious area of the breast.

“The samples are taken to a laboratory for histology (the microscopic study of tissues and organs through sectioning, staining, and examining those sections under a microscope) where a pathologist (a medical healthcare provider who examines bodies and body tissues) will come up with a diagnosis if there is breast cancer.”

Marisa pointed out that breast cancer diagnosed at an early stage can be treated. If presented at a later stage, it might be very difficult to treat it because it would have already spread to other organs.

He said treatment options include chemotherapy which is the use of medical drugs that are administered to shrink and destroy cancer cells, adding that side effects depend on the kind of drugs used ranging from vomiting, diarrhoea and hair loss.

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