BBC helps highlight the importance of sensitivity to cancer patients at the Mikvah

Last week, BBC World News Middle East published an article by Anna Behrmann on the mikvah being a ‘place where women can spot signs of breast cancer, and guide one another towards help’. The article also included a feature on Chai Cancer Care client, Michal Mocton, who was inspired to highlight the need for a Breast Cancer Awareness & Sensitivity Guide for Mikvah attendants after her own experience of going to the Mikvah following her breast cancer diagnosis six years ago.

 

The initiative is a collaboration between Michal, Naomi Marmon Grumet, Founder and Director of The Eden Center in Jerusalem and Chai, and aims to make the Mikvah a more supportive place for those going through the treatment of breast cancer. However, many of the principles are the same regardless of the cancer diagnosis.

Michal said: “As someone who has had a personal experience with breast cancer and was a regular mikvah user, I came to the realisation that education was needed in this area. The attendant at my local mikvah was sympathetic and understanding, but there was little she could offer in the way of practical advice. I feel that it’s important for all attendants to understand the physical and emotional impact that going to the mikvah after a cancer diagnosis can have on a woman.”

Michal went to the Mikvah for the last time at 37 when she had her ovaries removed. She wants attendants to be aware that some of the women might be going to the mikvah for the last time and it’s important that they help make her experience meaningful.

Naomi Marmon Grumet explains: “When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she is forced into a new reality with many fears and difficult decisions. Though Mikvah and intimacy are not always the first things on a woman’s mind when going through treatment removing any potential barriers can bring comfort and hope. Unfortunately with the rising numbers of women who are diagnosed, and diagnosed at a young age, there are likely to be more women contending with breast cancer who will need to use the Mikvah. So we gathered a team of doctors, survivors, halakhik experts and writers each sharing their knowledge and guidance to create this guide.”

Chai’s Chairman, Louise Hager said: “Education and awareness have always been central to Chai’s philosophy. However there are still some subject areas where information is not so readily available. This is where Chai has a ‘chiyuv’, an obligation, to assist in making a difference - to raise awareness, to educate and to ensure those affected by a cancer diagnosis are treated with the utmost sensitivity and care.

We are indebted to Michal Mocton for all of her commitment and determination in raising the issue of sensitivity to cancer patients at the Mikvah above the parapet, and sharing it with Chai in order that we can assist in bringing it to the attention of a broader audience. We would also like to extend our thanks to Naomi Marmon Grumet whose work with the Eden Center in Jerusalem has been an invaluable resource.”

Follow the link to read the BBC article 'I spotted a lump when preparing for my ritual bath' - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-47734665

To receive a free copy of the guide, please call Jamie on 020 8457 3398.