As the world commemorates the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease usually observed in the month of October, women from all walks of the globe have united to kick breast cancer out.
Aimed to help increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease, the campaign gives helpful guides about dense breasts to every woman who requests it and helps reach out to more women with Breast Cancer and or related complications. It is also called the Pink Ribbon campaign and is usually commemorated by wearing pink clothes or a pink ribbon as as annual fundraising campaign organised by BCF to be part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) in October.
In honor of the Month, the Nyeri County Government, Ministry of Health’s National Cancer Control Program (NCCP) and GE Healthcare have launched a Mammography screening campaign across Nyeri County to promote early detection of breast cancer. The one-month campaign will target over 10,000 women aged 40 years and above which is the recommended age for mammography screening. Over 50 Community Healthcare Volunteers and 30 healthcare professionals were trained to support the campaign.
The Nyeri County Deputy Governor Dr. Caroline Karugu said, “Breast cancer is a cancer that affects the breasts, mostly in women and it can also affect men though it is rare. In 2018, breast cancer was the most common cancer treated at the Nyeri County Referral Hospital. Out of the 10 cases of cancer reported at Nyeri County referral hospital, 7 cases are breast cancer cases. Even with this occurrence, only two mammogram exams were done per day around the same period indicating underutilization of the digital mammography machine available at the hospital. This campaign seeks to challenge women to do their Mammo screening which saves lives.
Dr. Karugu is the ambassador for the campaign promoting mammography screening in the fight against breast cancer. Leading by example, Dr. Karugu got her first mammogram exam at the Nyeri County Referral Hospital during the launch of the campaign, together with other attending the event as a way of motivating more women to participate in the screening.
“As a trusted partner to healthcare providers globally, we are excited to partner with NCCP and Nyeri County to provide the women of Nyeri County access to world-class mammography solutions that have positive impact on early breast cancer detection. GE Healthcare is committed to developing solutions for women that encourage adherence to screening guidelines and improve outcomes for breast cancer screening.” said Brenda Mbathi, CEO GE East Africa.
GE Healthcare’s Senographe Crystal digital mammography machine will be used for the screening at the Nyeri County Referral Hospital. The system delivers excellent image quality facilitating early detection while ensuring a positive patient experience.
Achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2022 is one of the government’s Big Four priority agenda aimed at ensuring that no Kenyan undergoes financial hardship while seeking health care. The government has ensured access to digital mammography services across the 47 public hospitals across the country for women in places that need it the most. Decentralization of these services and the UHC pilots have seen a dramatic direct and indirect cost saving to patients seeking breast cancer screening services.
According to GLOBOCAN 2018, breast cancer is the leading cancer in incidence in Kenya with almost 6,000 new cases, accounting for over 2,500 deaths and making it the 3rd leading cause of all cancer deaths in the country. Additionally, seven women die every day in Kenya as a result of breast cancer.
The campaign is geared towards cultivating a culture for screening amongst women. Mammography is the only screening method that has been shown to be effective in reducing breast cancer mortality.