BUGANDO Zonal Referral Hospital has started implementing President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s directives which required the facility to conduct scientific research to establish causes of high cancer prevalence rate in the Lake Zone regions.
The Hospital’s Head of Cancer Department Dr Nestory Masalu said a total of 7000 specimens have already been collected from people with different types of cancers as part of the implementation of the order issued by the Head of State.
Speaking during the commemoration of the World Cancer Day, Dr Masalu said the research will help experts to establish the reasons to why some people get the ailment while other do not get while they live in the same area.
“This is what we are doing now…we are also conducting scientific analysis of the information and a we are going to submit or report after six months because this task needs enough time,”
He said the hospital screens 1,500 new patients annually and since the hospital started providing cancer treatments in 2009 it has so far provided treatment to 56,000 patients who are still alive and they continue to be monitored by the hospital.
“We diagnosed about 66,000 cancer patients but 10,000 of them did not return for treatment we suspect that they have died although we don’t have their information and 56,000 are still alive”, he said.
He said cervical cancer is the leading cancer with about 40 percent of all types of cancers in the lake zone regions adding that cervical related cancer is most common in women.
Dr Masalu said the hospital has plans to implement its outreach programs so as to reach many people with the problem through awareness campaign about the disease.
“It will be difficult for us to expect patients to come to the hospital for cervical cancer screening if we don’t initiate actions that will make them see the important of undergoing screening and this is through awareness campaign,” he said.
He said the community should understand that if a family has a cancer patient whether a father, mother or other relatives, the disease offices all members, thus they should be aware of the disease and encourage members to go for screening.
“The disease end up making families very poor because its treatment requires a lot of money therefore it is quite important to make outreach programs so as to meet patients in their respective villages,” he said.
For her part, the Bugando Hospital – Nurse- Cancer Specialist Agatha Manyanda said women are advised to breastfeed their babies according to the schedule of two years noting that those who do not follow the schedule put themselves at higher risk of developing breast cancer.
“Older women who experience late-onset menopause especilly those aged above 50 years are also at risk of developing breast cancer”, she said.
For her part, cancer survivor who suffered from the disease for four years Jeredina Gilbert said who is also a nurse at Bugarika Dispensary in Nyamagana District, said she managed to be treated breast cancer because she used to go to the hospital whenever she experience anything different in her body .
“I used to check both breasts, but on examining myself, I touched one part of my breast and I saw something hard playing”, she said, adding that she went to the hospital for screening and found breast cancer.
Gracing the 50th Anniversary of Bugando Zonal Hospital here in November 2021, President Samia emphasised on the need for scientific research to be conducted, to establish causes of high cancer prevalence rate in the Lake Zone regions.
President Samia said that available data show that women are the most affected, suffering from breast and cervical cancers.
“It’s very saddening to realise that the number of cancer patients in the Lake Zone regions has continued to grow in 2019 the hospital received 1,200 cancer patients diagnosed with illness after being encouraged to take the test, the number is anticipated to shoot to 1,500 patients this year.
“Let’s direct the focus on establishing the source of the cancer…why the Lake Zone Region is leading and women are the main victims of breast and cervical cancer disease,” said President Samia.