In observation of the Breast Cancer Month that is celebrated with global theme; “I am and I will,” Medica Liberia with support from KFW, JFK and the Ministry of Health over the weekend organized a one day cancer awareness seminar for both non-affected cancer patience and cancer survivors at the Paynesville Town Hall in Paynesville.
The seminar that was held at the Paynesville Town Hall in Paynesville City witnessed the presence of astute Medical Doctors from many various hospitals including cancer survivors and a huge number of students from the Effort Baptist School and other well-meaning Liberians.
Giving the overview of situation of cancer in women, the Ministry of Health National Cancer Coordinator, Florence Yahnquee Kiatamba narrated that 8.2 million persons die as the result of cancer globally every year and said that it is estimated that by 2030, 14.2 million people will be living with cancer and is likely to increase globally to 21.7 million.
Additionally, she said that 70 percent of the of cancer in the region occurred in a low income country with Liberia being no exception, noting that 90 percent of the cancer patients in Liberia can already be in a worst stage that nothing can be done before going to hospitals because it spread very fast.
According to Kiatamba, 366 cases occurred every year from the woman virginal, with 269 deaths every year in Liberia breast cancer new cases is 320 with 160 deaths yearly.
“From 2014-2019, we have collected 1,121 cases of cancer from just few hospitals in the country, and 70 percent are suspected. From our data collected, breast cancer and private part are more in the country and due to the stigmatization issue, most of our people suffering from breast cancer are afraid to go for checkup or treatment,” she added.
The MOH Cancer Coordinator further revealed that the MOH have put a policy in place for cancer patients in the country. She said that a committee has been established to know what will be happening in various hospitals, a system to collect data in order to know the actual number of cancer cases including a pathologist Lab to confirm those cases as well as testing utility to do the cancer test, equipment and some level of treatment for cancer patients.
Disclosing their challenges, Kiatamba revealed that an effort to bring on board other Civil Society to work together in the fight against cancer, limited awareness and the limited human resources as well as treatment for diagnosed cancer patience’s.
Earlier, Dr. Sia W. Camanor from JFK used the occasion urged all the participants to join in the fight against cancer, alluding that cancer is not respect of a person, as it can affects anybody at any time.
She indicated that some of the reasons African suffer cancer is due to what they normally consume and their failure to do their most often, while at the same time encourages participants to get use to growing and eating of more fruits.
Dr. Camanor then admonished the participants to get used to doing regular checking of their body, mostly woman, adding that woman are more at risk to getting cancer then man and should not wait for the situation to get worst before going to the hospital for medication.
Also in remarks, Medical Liberia Head of Programme, Emily D. Frank noted that their driven force create the awareness was from the backdrop that they from medica Liberia is an organization that supports women and girls that experience Sexual Gender Base Violence (SGBV) and also Reproductive Health issues in the country.
She added that idea driven from the armed of the Reproductive Health, they decided to create awareness about cancer which mostly affect both men and women and said that majority of the women in the country suffer breast and private part cancer, adding that the awareness for intended for women, boys, girls and men in order to inform them about how cancer is dearly and how one can take treatment to prevent it.