Uganda: Breast Cancer On the Rise

Uganda: Breast Cancer On the Rise

Anne Mugisa

18 February 2010

Kampala There is a drastic increase in cases of breast cancer in the country, particularly among younger women, the Ministry of Health has said.

State minister for health Dr. Richard Nduhuura told journalists yesterday that it is the second cause of cancer deaths in women, after cervical cancer. Although there is no data to show the magnitude of the problem, he said scrutiny of hospital records shows that the disease is becoming a big threat.

The minister also noted that whereas breast cancer was mainly reported in women above 40 years in the past, younger women are increasingly getting it. The ministry plans to collect more data on breast cancer and other communicable diseases which are "growing silently".

The minister made the announcement as Uganda prepares to host the 3rd annual Africa breast cancer conference, expected to be attended by scientists, survivors, advocates and other stakeholders.

Nigerian princess Nikky Onyeri, who survived breast cancer and set up a foundation to fight it, is in the country to oversee the preparations for the two-day conference, which starts on March 15.

Princess Onyeri, who was present at the press conference, said misinformation that there is no breast cancer in Africa has fanned the disease. Breast cancer affects predominantly women. Only one man for every 100 women is diagnosed with it. The health ministry attributes the problem to hormonal and genetic factors as well as the use of oral contraceptives.

Every year, over 12 million people are diagnosed with the disease and 7.6 million die from it. "Early detection and treatment would save most of these lives," Nduhuura stated. He stressed that breast cancer is preventable and treatable if it is discovered early.

He called upon women to carry out regular examinations, including self-examination of the breasts, so that any abnormality is reported in an early stage. The signs to look out for are suspicious lumps, discharge from the nipple unless one is pregnant or breastfeeding, and nipples growing inwards.

Source:AllAfrica Global Media (

Posted July 2010 from February 2010 article

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