YESTERDAY the media was awash with good news to Tanzanians that the country will for the first time start conducting surgical treatment for early breast cancer patients without removing the entire breast, a move treatment medically will improve their lives.
Though this disease may not be a medical jargon in context, breast cancer, is an ailment in which cells in the breast grow out of control and there are different kinds of breast cancer.
The public should be aware that most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules, before spreading outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels, but in a nutshell, its treatment in the form of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery depends on the stage of the cancer.
It is therefore, good news in the country that the availability of modern machines like linear accelerator (LINAC), which was launched recently at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), have made breast conserving surgery possible in the country.
h c 1zaEqually, the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), Executive Director, Prof Lawrence Museru hinting at the opening of the Breast Cancer Workshop with participants drawn from Kenya, Bugando, Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC), Mbeya, Ocean and Besta Super Specialized Clinic at their MNH-Mloganzila that building the capacity of local health experts to provide the modern cancer treatment services, is welcomed.
It is worth praising the health experts and their institutions for their efforts to be concerned to improve the quality of life of breast cancer patients domestically.
In particular the radiation services they have started locally with the use of modern machines like the linear accelerator available at the ORCI equipped with better incorporation of imaging modalities, and more sophisticated irradiation techniques for such treatment is applauded.
The participants, therefore, should use the workshop as a roadmap to change and improve treatment of the disease and save many from travelling outside the country, yet the services can be acquired domestically.
Quoting MNH-Mloganzila Deputy Executive Director, Dr Julieth Magandi, breast cancer has been the most common cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide representing 25-35 per cent of all female cancer cases.
Dr Magandi noted that the risk of breast cancer increases as the age increases, according to 2005-2008 data from MNH the most common age was been 40 to 50 years, meaning that local institutions’ capacity to treat the disease should be sustainable.
“Equally, if we lack very well trained people we will not actually reach where we want to go in providing beast care for breast cancer patients,”Dr Magandi noted.