Activities to mark the campaign to fight against cancer were launched last Tuesday, October 19 at the Yaounde Gyneco-Obtetrics and Pediatric Hospital.
The launch which coincided with the World Day dedicated to fight against breast cancer provided a platform for drum echo for more actions to fight against the disease.
According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2020, 13,199 people died of cancer in Cameroon and 20,745 new cases were diagnosed, including 12,235 mainly gynecological (breast and cervical cancer). These increasing figures denote the proportion taken by this pathology, however curable, within the population. According to experts, cancer is a curable disease, provided it is caught early and treated effectively. Unfortunately, the findings show that in Cameroon, patients in 80 percent of cases arrive at the hospital at advanced stages, which increases their prognosis.
Launching the campaign, the Inspector General of Medical and Paramedical Services at the Ministry of Public Heallth, Dr Yves Mathieu Zoa Nanga, urged girls, women and mothers to regularly go for screening, because in terms of the numbers, cancer is considered a major public health problem.
He then proceeded by presenting the various actions taken by government to curb this fast growing disease.
In the nearest future, Category I hospitals will be equipped with centres for permanent screening and early diagnosis of cancers. This will enable pre-cancerous lesions to be detected as early as possible and treated for the well-being of populations, he said. In addition, cancer registers will be made available, which will help consolidate statistics and build up reliable, verifiable data, essential elements for decision-making. As part of this month’s campaign, a sensitization caravan will crisscross all the regions to screen for breast and cervical cancer.
Cameroon is supported in this fight by its partners such as WHO and UNFPA. The latter has been working for several years with the Ministry of Public Health to improve screening and treatment efforts. It is within the framework of this collaboration that the training modules on the detection and early management of cervical and breast cancer (reproductive cancers) were developed; 18 national trainers, 16 health providers (doctors, midwives) and 17 community health workers were each trained in awareness, screening and early management of breast and cervical cancer. Support has been allocated to 17 sites for the detection of this disease during this sensitization period.
The campaign is not limited to communication, awareness and screening for risk factors. According to the Permanent Secretary of the National Cancer Control Committee, Prof. Paul Ndom, it is also a matter of supporting peoples with the disease, for whom the physical sacrifice, the psychological efforts to be made and the financial burden remain enormous.