year, health institutions around the world observe Breast Cancer Awareness
Month, which is marked in October.
This year, BAFROW Medical Centre joined the rest of the world to support the reduction of unnecessary deaths, caused by breast cancer.
Among its activities, BAFROW, ministry of health and other partners held a media briefing to dispatch basic information about breast cancer and the benefits of doing regular screening.
Hundreds of thousands of women die from breast cancer every year, worldwide.
Speaking at the briefing held at the centre conference room in Serrekunda, Dr. Cherno Omar Barry, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, disclosed that breast cancer is the uncontrolled growth of some breast tissues in one or both breasts. “It’s one of the most common types of cancer in women worldwide.”
He added that breast cancer comprises 22% of evasive cancers in women and 16% of all female cancers, saying in The Gambia breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women, which tends to affect them in their mid-thirties.
Records from the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) indicated that out of 281 women screened for breast cancer in 2010, 39 cases were confirmed.
Out of 370 women screened in 2011, 48 cases were confirmed, and out of 404 women screened in 2012, 54 cases were confirmed.
Out of 386 women screened between January-August 2013, 57 cases were confirmed; in 2014, 70 cases were confirmed; in 2015, 73 cases were confirmed and in 2016, 88 cases were confirmed.
PS Barry explained that these figures on breast cancer prevalence in The Gambia are alarming, hence the need for concerted efforts to reduce the prevalence of breast cancer.
“There is urgent need for public-private sector and public-community partnership at all levels to raise awareness on breast cancer for maximum impact.”
For his part, Ebrima Jaiteh, RCH Unit at the Ministry of Health, said the national reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health programs policy and strategic plan strongly consider improving the prevention and treatment of reproductive cancers as one of its top priority activities.
He said the intervention strategies include improving publics’ awareness on risk factors for reproductive cancers, prevention modalities and availability of treatment options by SBCC interventions.