October is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month across the world, and the Ministry of Health is undertaking a number of activities to increase awareness in the fight against breast cancer, which will culminate in a walk on November 4 from Rwanda Development Board in Gishushu to Kagugu.
The aim is to enhance awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care. The focus of global efforts is on prevention and early detection to ensure early treatment, which increases the chances of survival.
However, more efforts are needed, especially in urban areas where the working class people are at risk because of the risky lifestyle they live and lack of time to participate in community awareness walks.
Therefore, taking breast cancer awareness to the workplace is critical.
Every company should periodically arrange breast cancer awareness sessions for their staff, where an expert on breast cancer can sensitise employees on breast cancer prevention, early detection and treatment. Even the NGOs involved in awareness campaigns and breast cancer screening should target the working class, both men and women, at the workplace. Human resource offices in organisations should actively enlist programmes for this cause. This approach will boost the awareness drive and more people will be reached.
Breast cancer remains a big threat, especially in urban areas where lifestyle that leads to non-communicable diseases is most common.
Annually, around 550 cases of breast cancer are recorded in Rwanda. Among them, only 30 per cent report when the cancer is at an early stage, while the remaining cases seek treatment when the condition is in advanced stages.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in the developed and developing countries. When breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured.