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World Cancer Day – Experts Call for More Action

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Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
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While Rwanda joins the rest of the world to mark World Cancer Day, today, experts are calling on the public to enhance prevention strategies to control the disease.

Experts pointed out that cancer remains a big challenge especially in the developing countries.

In his message for the day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said in a statement that more work must be done through scaling up interventions to end the many tragedies that cancer inflicts.

“This builds on a historic commitment made in 2011 by Heads of State. We are also guided by the global strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, and the every woman every child movement behind it, which are working for stronger health systems, universal health care coverage, and scaling up of life-saving interventions for comprehensive cancer prevention and control,” he said.

He added that the Sustainable Development Goals call for reducing by one-third premature death from non-communicable diseases in all people.

“World Cancer Day, always an opportunity to rally the world, has special impetus this year thanks to the recent adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to usher in a life of dignity for all people,” he added.

While applauding the successes of cervical cancer screening in many high income countries, Ban urged for replication of the same in low income states since the disease remains common among women

Cancer affects all countries, but those with fewer resources are hit hardest. The world’s poorest countries are home to more than eight in 10 women newly diagnosed with cervical cancer, and nine in 10 deaths from the disease, according to the United Nations.

At least 500,000 women around the world succumb to breast cancer because the majority are diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease.

According to the World health Organisation, despite survival rates being low – ranging, from 10 to 40 per cent, in settings where early detection and basic treatment are available and accessible, the five-year survival rate for early-localised breast cancer exceeds 80 per cent.

Currently, data from Butaro Cancer Centre indicates that breast cancer accounts for 40.3 per cent of all diagnosed cancers.

Dr Aimee Muhimpundu, the head of non-communicable diseases at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, urged the public to undertake in early screening to identify cancers at the earliest stages possible.

“Most of these cancers once diagnosed early can be treated successfully. Our call to the public remains the same, seek early screening and follow up on treatment,” Muhimpundu said.

Rwanda will mark World Cancer Day by holding sensitisation campaigns across the country.

The day is being marked under the theme, “We can, I can.”

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