South Africa: Novartis and Carlton Hair embrace breast health with Locks of Love

Love yourself, love your locks, be aware – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Novartis Oncology (Novartis) is teaming with Carlton Hair through the month of October to remind women everywhere that when it comes to breast health, knowledge is power and putting yourself first is what counts most.

Step into any Carlton Hair salon across Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal in October and pamper yourself with a limited edition, pink hydration hair treatment at a special discount rate of R200 (normally valued at R350). And while you love your locks, find out more about breast cancer – how you can recognise it, and how you can beat it.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in South Africa. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), one in every 29 women in South Africa is affected1. “The good news,” says breast health expert Dr Carol Benn, “is that if it’s detected and treated early, there is an excellent chance of recovery. Nine out of 10 women diagnosed with early breast cancer will be alive after five years2; and those who survive for five years, will very likely live their normal lifespan.”

The majority – up to 90%3 – of breast cancer cases are self-diagnosed, which is why it’s so important for women to know the danger signs and to know how to do a breast self-examination (BSE). To spread the word, Carlton Hair, who has more than 20 000 women through its doors every month, will not just sell and lay on the ‘Pink Love’ with this special hydration treatment, but offer breast cancer leaflets with detailed information on how to check your breasts. Carlton Hair staff will also be encouraged to discuss breast health with clients.

There’s a very good reason why women need to be proactive about breast health – 70% of all women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no identifiable risk factors4.

“There’s no place for complacency,” says Dr Benn. “If you are a woman over 40, do an annual mammogram and ultrasound and go for a clinical examination. And it’s vitally important for women of all ages to do a monthly breast self-examination – nine out of 10 breast lumps are detected by women themselves1. That said, it’s important to remember that 90% of breast lumps are not cancer5, so if you find a lump in your breast, do not be afraid to go to your doctor.”

Says Byron Mayer, Managing Director of Carlton Hair: “Women are key to our company and we want them to know we care. When it comes to breast health, knowledge is definitely power. We will have pink reminders everywhere – pink coasters, information cards, branded t-shirts for staff and pink mammogram ‘mo-mints’ in glass jars. Customers who partake of the promotion will be entered into a national competition to win Carlton Hair Keratin Miracle treatments and blow waves monthly for a year, but more importantly, Carlton Hair will also donate R20 from every treatment purchased to the Breast Health Foundation (BHF).”

Continues Mayer: “We want women to know that taking care of themselves in every way is important. Regardless of whether you are using quality homecare products, a monthly in-salon hair treatment is very important. A treatment strengthens and restores the moisture in your hair and the Micro Mist technology used actually improves absorption and locks the treatment deep into the hair.”

Along with this promotion, information cards in salons will also encourage customers to SMS the word “BREAST” and the name of their salon to 38584. Every SMS received will raise R10 for the BHF and customers will be entered into a nationwide competition to win a Corioliss Hair straightener.

Says Dr Benn: “The more you know about breast cancer and the treatment options available, the better equipped you will be to cope. For example, research suggests that 42% of breast cancers can be prevented by making good lifestyle changes6 – exercising, eating healthily and cutting down on alcohol intake. However, there are also factors like the importance of wearing a supportive undergarment – when we say gravity is not a girl’s best friend we are not just talking about aesthetics: a good silhouette is a healthy silhouette; it’s one instance when being beautiful is definitely good for you.”

Breast cancer treatments are continuously advancing and today it’s largely curable. Breast cancer can be treated in various ways, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery and biological therapy. “If diagnosed, take your time to investigate your options and fully understand your situation,” says Dr Benn. “Also know that the old fears of disfigurement are no longer valid. If a surgical procedure is required, immediate breast construction is today usually a prescribed minimum benefit on medical schemes – it has been done for over 30 years in Europe and we know it’s safe.”

Says Dr Benn: “If you are a woman, it’s important that you speak openly about breast health. If you know the facts, you can deal with the fears. ‘Catch it on arrival: 95% survival’ – that’s the slogan of Fran Drescher, aka the Nanny from the hit TV series. She survived uterine cancer but her message is as relevant to breast cancer. Support breast cancer awareness – spread the word.”

For more information on the Locks of Love campaign and how you can support breast cancer awareness, please visit the Breast Health Foundation’s website on: Alternatively, if you would like to show your support for breast health, make a donation to the BHF by SMS’ing the word “BREAST” to 38584.