Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia (BCWA) was founded in 1986 by medical specialists who realised the need for peer support for women with breast cancer. It is an independent tax-exempt voluntary organisation registered with the Registrar of Societies in 1988, and a member of the International Union against Cancer (UICC) and Reach to Recovery International (RRI).
• A volunteer or a trained breast cancer survivor uses her experience to help another woman recovering from breast cancer.
BCWA's Objectives & Activities:-
• Provision of psychosocial support before, during and after treatment. This is achieved by individual support through the Patient Support Team of survivors visiting patients in government and private hospitals regularly. Survivor Therapeutic Education Session along with Group Sharing sessions are held every third Saturday of the month at the BCWA premises. The support, exchange of experiences, fellowship and learning to cope with their treatment and recovery, help improve the quality of lives for women with breast cancer, hence they are able to take control of their lives again.
• Assistance in procuring non-medical physical aids. BCWA volunteers design and sew breast prostheses which are available to survivors at a minimum cost whilst wigs are loaned to women who lose their hair due to chemotherapy. A wide range of reading and audio visual materials on breast cancer issues are made available at the BCWA library. BCWA publishes the Chatline, a regular newsletter, for its members.
• Public education on breast awareness and women’s health. Talks and forums on breast cancer and related issues are frequently organized for the public.
• Social and Sports Activities. Social and sports activities are organized as a form of therapeutic support for members. One of the challenging activities is dragon boat paddling. The Pink Challengers from BCWA, the first dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors in Malaysia participate in national and international events and races. Excursions and craft classes are also conducted regularly.
• Networking/Advocacy BCWA is in constant communication with public and private organizations, both locally and internationally, to help improve the quality of life for women with breast cancer.
• Training BCWA offers regular formal and informal training on psychosocial support and breast awareness for professionals, tertiary education students, volunteers and cancer survivor