A month-long campaign aimed at encouraging women to regularly test and take preventive measures against breast cancer is scheduled to begin on September 29.
The campaign will kick off in Kigali, according to Anne N. Rugege, the Executive Director of Breast Cancer Initiative East Africa (BCIEA) Inc, the organisers of the campaign.
“Through this campaign, we want people to know that knowledge is power and together we can save lives. This means that getting the information will enable many to go for check-up regularly,” she said during a phone interview last week.
Rugege explained that the campaign will focus on calling upon the public to embrace early detection as the best preventive means against breast cancer.
The campaign will start with Ulinzi Walk. Ulinzi is a Swahili word meaning ‘protect’. The walk, according to Rugege, will start from Rwanda Development Board’s parking lot at Gishushu to Christ Church of Rwanda in Gacuriro.
On October 5, there will be a fundraising campaign, from which proceeds will be directed towards BCIEA initiatives to support breast cancer patients and survivors.
According to Dr Pacific Muhinzi of Kigali Military Hospital, Kanombe, breast cancer awareness campaigns are needed because they help spread the word that early detection can save a life.
“Many people have come to us with cancer that is already at advanced stages. This is very dangerous because chances are that such patients might never get better,” he said.
Government has in recent months trained more medics in breast cancer examination.
“With more people with specialised skills, it means we shall be able to reduce the number of cancer cases in the country, the Director of Cancer Diseases at Rwanda Biomedical Center (RBC), Dr Leonard Kayonde, said.
A 2007-2013 RBC report on cancer epidemiology indicates that 4,615 people were infected with different types of cancer, the most common ones being breast cancer, constituting 15.8 per cent.
Cervix uteri stood at 15.6 per cent while stomach cancer was 9.1 per cent and uterus 5.5 per cent.
According to the report, stomach cancer was the most prevalent among men, standing at 11.7 per cent, followed by prostate at 9.4 per cent.
Statistics indicate that more cases of cancer patients were reported at Kigali University Teaching Hospital (CHUK), with 1,768 cases.
It was followed by Centre Hospital University Butare (CHUB) which recorded 1,645 cases, while King Faisal Hospital received 1,096 patients.