Country representative of the Italian Association for solidarity among people has warned that lack of information will continue fuelling cancer deaths in the country.
Citing their three year project entitled ‘The health of the Ugandan woman’, Dr. Francesco Aloi says 5800 women have been screened for breast and cervical cancer majority in late stages underlining the need to avail cancer awareness.
“People do not know details about cancer plus there is stigma it is associated with in terms of social and cultural mentalities. There needs to be awareness created just like it has been done for HIVAIDS,” Dr Aloi said.
The project which is concluding next year, saw 471 women test positive for cervical cancer and 87 for breast cancer in different parts of the country. Reports show that more than 3,500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and between 300 to 400 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually in Uganda.
According to Titti Andriani, the president of Oncologists for Africa, close to eight out of ten die women diagnosed with cancer die, this means that women cancer patients have a survival rate of approximately 18 per cent.
Those found with the disease were given treatment ranging from chemotherapy and surgery at Nsambya hospital. Despite the effort, Andriani noted that there is a huge gap in treatment of patients and alluded to the expensive cancer treatments which do not cater for individuals with low incomes increasing the cancer burden.
“Because of the current burden of communicable diseases such as malaria in developing countries, of which Uganda is part, non-communicable diseases such as cancer are not taken as emergencies yet the mortality rate related to them is high. WHO reported that cancer deaths in Africa will reach one million per year while 13 million new cases will be recorded,” Andriani explained.
The project which was funded by the Italian government and cost over Shs1b saw 250,000 women educated, tested and treated for breast and cervical cancer although Dr Aloi noted that other cancers were also detected and treated where necessary.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor