By Joyce Mukucha and Anyway Yotamu
In the quest to promote comprehensive breast cancer control programmes as part of national cancer control plans as well as recommending early detection strategies that save lives, NetOne in conjunction with the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe held a Free Breast Cancer Screening in Mabvuku.
The efforts follow the fact that October is the cancer awareness month as the organisation seeks to reduce the burden of breast cancer across Zimbabwe.
Breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in the developed and developing countries. Recent estimates by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) indicate that breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, making up 24.2% or about 1 in 4 of all new cancer cases diagnosed in women worldwide.
Speaking during the Free Breast Cancer Screening Programme at Mabvuku Poly Clinic on the 19th of October 2019, the NetOne Public Relations Executive Dr Eldrette Shereni, said the company had selected Mabvuku as it felt that some people in the suburb were not getting the opportunity and access in as much as breast cancer screening was concerned.
“We came here in Mabvuku to offer them free breast cancer screening and we are happy that over 100 women got screened and almost 20 men also showed up for screening as well. About nine people amongst the screened ones were given referrals for further assessment.
“For us as NetOne, we feel that it is every citizen’s right to stay healthy so we have organised this programme so that people in the community can have access to screening. It is important to detect the disease early and receive treatment. I would like to encourage other women and men out there to get screened as well. We are one people and we want One health,” Dr. Shereni said.
Next ext month, NetOne is set to have cancer screening for its staff to ensure employees’ well-being and good health.
Speaking on behalf of Mabvuku Poly Clinic Sister-In-Charge, Tracy Mafura applauded NetOne for rolling out such an important programme which she said was enormous for the community.
“This programme which NetOne has extended to us is very important as it granted many women an opportunity to receive breast cancer screening. Others were ignorant concerning breast cancer but we are happy that this programme has managed to raise awareness in the community. To men, I also urge them to get screened because it is for their own benefit,” said Mafura.
She pointed out that the polyclinic was having issues of women who came with mature cancer at the clinic.
“This breast cancer screening is very important to me because I breastfeed so it helped me to know that my child is consuming healthy and safe milk,” said Anyway Muindwa, one of the women who got screened.
In an interview with Spiked Online Media, the General Manager of Cancer Association of Zimbabwe highlighted that when breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment is available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured. If detected late, however, curative treatment is often no longer an option.
Most people assume that breast cancer only be diagnosed in women. However, of the massive numbers that were screened,a bout 20 men also got screened.
Amongst the men who came for screening was the Zimbabwean top boxing star,Charles Manyuchi.
He expressed that he was happy to receive the knowledge. He didn’t know that men also can be affected with breast cancer. Manyuchi said it was important for him pertaining his profession and urged other men to value their health and find time to get screened.
In women, incidence rates for breast cancer far exceed those for other cancers in both developed and developing countries. Breast cancer is also the leading cause of cancer death in women, responsible for 15% of all female cancer deaths. This is according to the IARC.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Month, marked in countries across the world every October, helps to increase attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of the disease.