The majority of Malawian women suffer from breast cancer because they do not detect the signs and symptoms in early stages but now there is vigorous awareness campaign to assist people to continuously examine themselves to such signs.
This is done through Blantyre-based Breast Cancer Care Foundation, which offers free screening at its clinic in Mandala open everyday where the experts also teach how to self-examine themselves to detect signs and symptoms.
Once they detect an abdominally, they are encouraged to visit the clinic for screening to detect whether that might lead to breast cancer or it is leading to a different ailment altogether.
All this is done by Breast Cancer Care Foundation as a free service and taking cognizance of the investment that has been injected into the noble initiative, First Capital Bank has assisted the Foundation with K10 million as part of its core corporate social responsibility (CSR).
At the handover of the cheque on Thursday at the Bank’s Head Office in Blantyre, Chief Executive Officer, Spyridon Georgopoulos said the Foundation is doing a phenomenon and selfless work towards assisting the populace to detect breast cancer signs early for easy treatment.
“There are high incidents of breast cancer in Africa and globally, and Malawi’s is not spared,” Georgopoulos said. “Men, who also can suffer from breast cancer, are also accelerating the high incidents but we don’t know about it.”
“Breast Cancer Care Foundation is making sure that the public should be screened for free and also be made aware of how to detect the signs and symptoms.
“It’s a wonderful and selfless initiative in which the Foundation has invested a lot in high-tech equipment for cancer screening, scanning, solutions and awareness.
“That involves a lot of money and as First Capital Bank, we decided to assist with Breast Cancer Care Foundation as a long standing partnership as a way forward. The Foundation has shown its goodness of the heart as they do not demand any monetary returns, which is why we come in to part with them beyond this donation.”
Georgopoulos emphasized that health is one sector of the CSR initiative, saying health impacts heavily on people’s socio-economic lives. Another core sector the Bank assists is education and the environment.
In her vote of thanks, the organisation’s Founder, Tabitha Warwick said they were proud to partner with First Capital Bank, which comes after the country joined the world in commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month that falls in October.
She said breast cancer is not affecting pockets of the population but every one is prone to catching it if they do not examine for signs by themselves.
“Breast cancer-related deaths amongst women is increasing in Africa and Malawi, because it is detected very late in life,” she said.
“When people visit us, we screen them and teach them how to continuously self exam themselves.
“If they detect an abdominally, they are encouraged to come back to us for further screening and scanning to detect if it might lead to breast cancer,” she said, adding that every first walk-in person that visits their clinic is encouraged to teach many more others on self examinations.
“We have a magnificent group of survivors of breast cancer with whom we keep the awareness going so that it should reach the rural masses,” adding that with such support as First Capital Bank’s, they can manage to infiltrate into the rural areas.
“We encourage each other that we need to enhance awareness so that it reaches out as far as possible, because breast cancer is avoidable if we keep self examining ourselves regularly.”
October, as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is observed globally to increase attention and support for the awareness early detection and treatment as well as palliative care of this disease — such as that being done by Breast Cancer Care Foundation.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), which promotes comprehensive breast cancer control programmes as part of national cancer control plans, there are over a million new cases and thousands of deaths from breast cancer each year.
Reports by IARC Globocan indicate that breast cancer is by far the most common cancer in women worldwide, both in the developed and developing countries.
In low and middle income countries the incidence has been rising up steadily in the last years due to increase in life expectancy, increase urbanization and adoption of western lifestyles.
Currently there is not sufficient knowledge on the causes of breast cancer, therefore, early detection of the disease remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control.
When breast cancer is detected early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatment are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured.
If detected late, however, curative treatment is often no longer an option. In such cases, palliative care to relief the suffering of patients and their families is needed.
The majority of deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, where most women with breast cancer are diagnosed in late stages due mainly to lack of awareness on early detection and barriers to health services.