Uganda: Lack of Cancer Awareness, Screening Machines, in Mbarara Raises Concern Among Patients, Local Leaders

Cancer patients and local leaders in Mbarara expressed deep concern over the inadequate cancer awareness and screening facilities in lower government health facilities.

They say that this deficiency resulted into many people unknowingly succumbing to cancer, and urge the government to initiate extensive national cancer sensitisation campaigns akin to those implemented for HIV/AIDS.

Cancer, classified as a non-communicable disease, has become an increasingly significant health burden in Uganda.

Global statistics indicate that 20% of all cancers are caused by chronic infections and abnormal cell growth, which, if left undiagnosed at an early stage, can escalate to life-threatening levels.

The common types of cancer in Uganda include cervical cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, leukemia, and lymphoma, commonly found in children.

One individual bravely battling cancer is 25-year-old Nasasira Angus, who is currently facing bone cancer and endures daily pain, emphasizing the necessity of early detection and intervention to alleviate suffering.

“Early detection of cancer remains a very big challenge, national sensitization and cancer screening campaigns are highly need to be boosted so as to gear up the process”. Stated Nganda.

Another poignant case is that of Lala, a 5-year-old child diagnosed with cancer at the tender age of 2. Thankfully, her Father, Kenneth Nganda sought immediate treatment at the Uganda Cancer Institute in Kampala, effectively managing her condition.

Regrettably, early cancer detection remains a significant challenge for many Ugandans, with the majority attributing it to the government’s failure to implement a comprehensive national sensitization and cancer screening campaign.

Ariho Moses, Deputy Resident City Commissioner of Mbarara, acknowledged the matter and echoed for the call for enhanced cancer awareness efforts in the western region.

“In a bid to create cancer awareness in the western region… cancer screening and testing hub in Mbarara [will serve] over 2 million people.” Noted Ariho.

In response to the pressing need for improved cancer awareness and screening, the Angus Cancer Foundation, in collaboration with local leaders, organized a cancer walk in Mbarara town, an event which successfully raised over 700 million shillings, intended for the construction of a cancer screening and testing hub that will cater to the healthcare needs of over 2 million people in the region.