Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ADRA, CAM raise awareness on breast cancer

By Elias Banda
ADRA Malawi and the Cancer Association of Malawi (CAM) worked in collaboration to raise awareness and advocate for improved services for those affected.  CAM declared the month of October as a breast cancer awareness month to put more emphasis on the prevention, early detection and management aspect of breast cancer.
According to Regina Njilima CAM Coordinator, breast cancer was posing a big threat among other cancers in Malawi mostly attacking women above the age of 40. She said however that men accounted for only 5% among those affected.
ADRA Malawi provided the Nzatonse Radio platform for the association to raise the awareness campaign which ran for three weeks. The first program featured one of the breast cancer survivors, Jean Pheluwa  of Chilomoni township in Blantyre who testified how she survived by seeking early detection and treatment. Though one of her breasts was removed, Jean said her cancer was completely cured.
Regina Njilima also said that the association was facing many challenges in the fight against cancer which included lack of finances to carry out outreach activities in the remote areas of the country. She said that due to lack of awareness on cancer, many patients on referral program declined to be surgically operated and some even ran away for fear of the medical services. She said however that the association put more effort to trace them and brought them back for surgery.
Njilima also said that the other challenge the association faced was that out of over 2000 cancer emerging cases annually, there were only two cancer specialists in Malawi making it difficult for them to attend to all cases adequately.  Meanwhile, the 2B Ward section of Queen Elizabeth Hospital has been set aside as a cancer make-shift clinic while waiting for the cancer clinic under construction in Lilongwe.
The Nzatonse Radio Program on the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) is sponsored by ADRA Malawi through the Action for Social Change Program.