Source: Tanzania Daily News
EAST, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA) Health Community intends to conduct free screening for breast and cervical cancer to all women of child bearing ages in Arusha region.

ECSA Health Community Director General, Dr Josephine Kibaru-Mbae, stated here that the exercise will be conducted here in line with the Breast and Cervical Cancer Awareness campaign to be held in Arusha from October 1 to 4, this year. "As you may be aware, October is regarded as a special month for cancer awareness globally and we at ECSA intend to observe this by conducting free cancer screening for women who would be interested to know their status," said Dr Kibaru- Mbae.

The Minister for Community Development, Gender and Children, Ms Sophia Simba is expected to flag off the exercise in Arusha with a procession from ECSA headquarters in Njiro area of Themi Hill to the regional commissioner's office next Monday.

According to the director general, ECSAHC has partnered with AAR Health Services, the Arusha Regional Medical Office, the Mount Meru Hospital, the Rotary Club of Arusha, Kibo Palace Hotel and the Arusha Corporate Network to make the exercise a success.

"Breast cancer screening and awareness training will take place at the Kibo Palace Hotel, while the private cervical cancer screening will be conducted at AAR clinic in town, where also part of the breast cancer screening will be going on at the same time," said Dr

Kibaru. Among the causes for the cervical cancer include early marriages, a problem which is notorious in Arusha region, smoking and promiscuity, while breast cancer can be attributed to lifestyle, especially poor dieting and unhealthy living.

Breast cancer, according to available figures, is currently the top cancer affecting women world-wide and the second most common cancer among women in Sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for nearly 17 per cent of all female cancers in this region where nearly 50,000 cases were reported in recent years.

The ECSA director general pointed out that it is difficult to obtain figures of either breast or cervical cancers in Tanzania because most local hospitals and health centres do not have special cancer registries for their patients. "But so far these types of cancers affect around 25 million women globally and the figure is just a tip of the iceberg because many such infections, especially those occurring in developing countries go either unreported, undetected or unrecorded," said Dr Kibaru-Mbae. 

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