More than 10,000 cancer diagnoses are made in Georgia every year. A fifth of the cases are breast cancer. This makes breast cancer the most prevalent and the highest cause of death. After I was diagnosed with cancer, I met many other women like me, but there was no place for us to meet and talk. That is where we got the idea to create the Pink Space.
The primary goal of our organization is to raise awareness about breast cancer, provide access to information about treatment and to provide social support. We try to explain the importance of a timely diagnosis. I am a living example of this. I learned I had cancer when it was still in the first stage, six years ago.
The basic package provided by the Universal Health Care program finances between 50 to 70 percent of the treatment for low-income citizens. That assistance covers the costs of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
One of the most important medicines is bisphosphonates, which everyone who undergoes chemotherapy requires. This medicine cost between 6,000 - 7,000 lari. Now, our organization and our state fund a portion of this medicine for patients.
In fact, rehabilitation and palliative care services do not exist in our country. Why do people who are struggling with this diagnosis have to think about raising money, instead of focusing on how to encourage themselves, how to find the strength to deal with it?
The situation is even worse outside of the capital. The women living there hide their diagnosis, knowing full well that they can’t cover the costs of treatment. That's why they get such a sad result.
I had a double mastectomy. Despite this, these women and I maintain our femininity, and we have reevaluated many things in life...We became stronger and I sincerely want other women to believe that cancer isn’t really a judgment.
Ana Mazanishvili, the president of Europa Donna Georgia and a co-founder of Pink Space.