Members and fellow breast cancer survivors of Love Pink Indonesia pose for a photo during the launch of their app 'Lovepink Breasties.' (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)

Love Pink Indonesia Launches Mobile App for Breast Cancer Awareness

BY :SYLVIANA HAMDANI

OCTOBER 14, 2015

Jakarta. When Samantha Barbara, director of a Jakarta advertising agency and chairwoman of non-profit organization Yayasan Daya Dara Indonesia, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, she felt her life change in an instant.

Samantha takes pap smear tests regularly, but she was somehow unaware about the health of her breasts. When she learned that her friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, she decided to go for a check up.

Several visits to hospitals in Jakarta and Singapore lead to the same conclusion, with doctors detecting a five-centimeter lump in her left breast and diagnosing Samantha with stage 2b breast cancer.

"In one second, my whole life changed," she said. "Mentally, spiritually, physically and financially, I collapsed."

Even so, the mother of actress Chelsea Islan was determined not to let cancer ruin her life. Her routines changed from working at the office and meeting with clients to a series of chemotherapy sessions at hospitals.

She called these sessions her "chemo party" and likened her long hours under the strong glare of radiation beams to "sunbathing at La Plancha" (Seminyak, Bali).

"The more I think positively of my cancer therapy, the more it worked," she said.

Samantha completed her series of cancer treatments in March this year. As a survivor and currently the head of non-profit foundation established by fellow survivors, she had a new life goal: to raise awareness about breast cancer.

YDDI, also known as Love Pink Indonesia, recently launched a self-examination app for Android users called "Lovepink Breasties," which tracks a user's monthly periods and reminds her to perform a breast exam seven days after her menstruation cycle each month.

"The right time to examine your breasts is from the seventh to the 10th day after your menstruation," said Shanti Persada, who co-founded Love Pink Indonesia with Madelina Mutia in early 2014. 

The mobile app shows users how to check their breasts for discolorations and lumps.

According to Samantha, 80 percent of the lumps felt in these examinations are harmless, but if they appear again in the second month, users should immediately consult an oncologist. For a recommendation on reputable oncologists, Samantha said Love Pink Indonesia is always just a phone-call away.

Love Pink Indonesia has found  that breast cancer patients in Indonesia are usually diagnosed at advanced stages. In comparison, patients in Singapore are usually diagnosed much earlier, and thus, have a better chance to receive treatment and survive the condition.

"It's because [Singaporean women] know that they should examine their breasts each month," Samantha said.

The app's  October release is in conjunction with the month-long worldwide campaign of breast cancer awareness. More than 1,000 users have already downloaded the app so far.

The foundation's previous strategy was to hand out vouchers for ultrasounds and mammograms, but there was always the chance recipients wouldn't bother going to the hospital.

"The app is a very effective way to remind women to check their breasts," Samantha said. "Women can actually check their own breasts every month, as they should have done since puberty."

Love Pink Indonesia also has a number of programs to improve public awareness about this possible fatal disease throughout this month, including a charity bazaar at Plaza Indonesia, Central Jakarta, on Oct. 27-29, and a celebrity garage sale at the same mall on Oct. 30-31. All the proceeds will go to the foundation's future campaigning efforts.

Also in the works is the foundation's headquarters and care center, an old house on Jalan Ahmad Dahlan in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, currently under renovation.

"We hope to launch [the headquarters] by the end of this year," Shanti said. "Once it's up and running, anyone that wants to know more about breast cancer or needs our support can come over."

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