In these pandemic times, one can easily forget that traditionally, October is marked for Breast Cancer Awareness, the disease that most commonly affects women worldwide.
Early detection of breast cancer is the cornerstone to control it, and if done so early, there is a good chance to cure it, with adequate diagnosis and treatment.
Langata Hospital has been hosting Breast Cancer Awareness month since 2016, and will this year add free BMI Checks, nutritional advice, Free HIV testing and counseling as well as any referral service for further management if found necessary.
Additional testing for Pap smear, PSA levels for men, and blood sugar levels will be conducted at subsidized charges. Open daily at the hospital’s clinic from Thursday, 1 October 2020 from 9 am- 5 pm Monday to Friday and 8 am – 1 pm Saturday.
Announcing the 2020 Breast Cancer Awareness month, Dr. A. S. Matharu, Director said “It is and will remain, our mission to provide the very best medical services, at an affordable cost to the residents of Langata and its environs. The free medical camps we conduct at the hospital are service to the community around us”, he concluded.
Since August, Langata Hospital has hosted a World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) camp distributing supplements at the Mothers and Child Wellness Clinic as well as a Diabetic Medical Camp which offered free diabetic screening, blood pressure, and BMI and Eye checkup. Free cataract surgery was also included.
The Cancer Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is marked in countries across the world and helps to increase attention and support for awareness, early diagnosis, and treatment as well as palliative care for women facing this disease.
There are about 1.7 million new cases and 522 000 deaths from breast cancer each year. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide and is the most common cause of cancer among women in most countries.
In low- and middle-income countries the incidence has been rising steadily due to increased life expectancy, changing reproductive patterns (such as later age at first childbirth and less breastfeeding), and the adoption of western lifestyles.
Early diagnosis remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control. When found early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured. If detected late, however, curative treatment is often no longer an option. In such cases, treatment may improve quality of life and delay disease progression, while supportive and palliative care should be readily available to relieve suffering for patients and their families.
The majority of women who die from breast cancer (324 000) live in low- and middle-income countries, where most women are diagnosed in late stages due to a variety of factors. These include limited awareness on the part of the public and health care providers, and the lack of access to timely, affordable, and effective diagnosis and treatment.
WHO promotes comprehensive breast cancer control programs as part of national cancer control plans. The recommended early detection strategies for low- and middle-income countries are to increase awareness of early signs and symptoms among health care providers and the public and to increase capacity for prompt diagnostic evaluation (including imaging, biopsy, and pathology services).
Breast screening with mammography screening is very costly and is feasible only in countries with good health infrastructure that can afford a long-term program. The value of clinical breast examination is an important area of research, particularly in lower resource settings.
In November, WHO will release a new document to help countries improve the capacity for early diagnosis for breast and other cancers.
Signs you might have Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most predominant type of cancer in women, in developed and developing countries. New cases are reported to be rising in low and middle-income countries given the increased life expectancy, urbanization, and change of lifestyle.
There is no knowledge of the exact cause of breast cancer but early detection is crucial in controlling the menace.
Breast cancer requires early detection to necessitate adequate diagnosis and treatment to ensure a good chance of healing.
Late diagnosis does not provide curative treatment as an option and in such cases, only palliative care to ease the suffering of patients and their family is offered.
To ensure early diagnosis, examine your breasts, especially during warm showers to feel if there are any lumps if you are not a nursing mother. Look out for any of the below signs and seek a doctor’s opinion.
Change in the look or feel of the breast, swelling, warmth, redness, darkening, or any discoloration.
Change in the look or feel of the nipple, discharge that starts abruptly.
Lump, hard knot, or thickening inside the breast or underarm
Change in the size or shape of the breast, dimpling or wrinkling of the skin
Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple, pulling off the nipple or other parts of the breast
Fresh pain in a single spot of the breast that does not go away.