While globally, only one percent of the breast cancer cases are among men, Mugisha says at the cancer institute, men accounted for seven percent of the over 500 cases of breast Cancer that they recorded last year. Worse, they were all in advanced stages which many times makes them had to treat and get cured.
While women are encouraged to always check their breasts to
look out for any possible swelling five to ten days every after their monthly periods,
experts at the Uganda Cancer Institute say men should do the same at any time
during the month.
Dr. Noleb Mugisha, an oncologist who heads screening
services says many men wrongly think that the recommended self- breast exam is
meant for women and yet a man has to be aware of how their breasts appear under
normal circumstances to be able to tell when swellings appear.
He says men can get other swellings in their breasts that
aren’t cancerous but it is only through examination that this will be ruled out.
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While globally, only one percent of the breast cancer cases
are among men, Mugisha says at the cancer institute, men accounted for seven
percent of the over 500 cases of breast Cancer that they recorded last year.
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When it comes to screening, he says whenever it is talked
about, the general feeling by men is that it is a problem of women.
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At a Press conference organized by the
Uganda National NCDs Alliance as part of the events to mark the October Breast
Cancer Awareness Month, Mugisha lamented that most men with breast cancer report late, making it hard to treat and cure them. At the event which was also attended by survivors who
expressed need to be prioritized in the on-going COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Christopher Kwizera who heads the alliance said during their
recent trips to their collaborators in the countryside, they realized that the
vaccination figures posted by the Ministry of Health only tell part of the
Cancer patients and survivors just like other Non-Communicable Diseases had been prioritized
by the Ministry of Health for jabs because of their compromised immunity but
Kwizera says these people are still not turning up for jabs even as are now
accessible even at the lowest points in upcountry districts.
He says government seems not to know, who the people living
with NCDs are and where they are. For him, they ought to have put up separate
centers targeting them considering that they account for majority of the over
three thousand COVID-19 deaths so far recorded.
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Meanwhile, Rebecca Kiziri Mayengo who heads the Uganda Women
Cancer Support Organisation, said initially the pandemic hit them hard that they
could no longer conduct screening and awareness campaigns.
Effects of this are
being seen now as more people who had been referred early on to bigger
facilities for further checks only turning up now.
He worries this that this may fuel late presentation which
is already high where 75% of cancer patients turn up late for treatment.