Rwandans have been urged to seek early cancer tests, since the disease can attack different parts of the body. The call came from Philippa Kibugu, the Founder of Breast Cancer Initiative East Africa (BCIEA) Inc;.
She was yesterday addressing the media ahead of this year’s cancer awareness campaign.
“Ninety per cent of cancer diseases are preventable. Reduce the consumption of fatty things, eat fruits, vegetables, avoid cigarettes and too much alcohol but, most importantly, do exercises,” she counseled.
This year’s campaign will start with awareness march on September 29, from Rwanda Development Board’s parking lot at Gishushu to Christ Church of Rwanda in Gacuriro, Kigali.
BCIEA Inc; started with 27 women fighting against breast cancer using various preventive methods like early detection. Today, it has more than 3,000 members.
Kibugu added that Rwandans should change the perception that suffering from breast cancer is like a death sentence.
Dr Pacific Muhinzi of Rwanda Military Hospital, Kanombe, warned that seeking treatment when the disease is at advanced stage reduces chances of survival.
Oda Musabimana, a breast cancer survivor spoke of the way she discovered that she had breast cancer and how she survived.
“It was at night in August 2003; when I felt a lump in my breast, when I went to the doctor I was told it was cancer. The news sent me panicking knowing I was destined for death. But I was taken to Nairobi for treatment and lucky enough I healed,” she narrated.
“Whenever there is something unusual on any part of your body don’t hesitate to see a doctor and families should take care of cancer patients.”
BCIEA Inc; is also organising a fundraising event at Serena Hotel on October 5, where people will give their testimonies about breast cancer and how to prevent it.
Between 2007 and 2013, at least 4,615 people were infected with different types of cancer in the country, the most common one being breast cancer, constituting 15.8 per cent, according to latest Ministry of Health statistics on cancer epidemiology.
Cervix uteri stood at 15.6 per cent while stomach cancer was at 9.1 per cent and uterus 5.5 per cent.
Stomach cancer was the most prevalent among men, standing at 11.7 per cent, followed by prostate at 9.4 per cent.