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New York Times Examines Breast Cancer In Uganda

The New York Times in two articles examines breast cancer in Uganda, where stigma, poverty and misinformation often lead to delays in treatment for women in need. In the first article, the newspaper highlights a rise in cancer rates across Africa as the continent continues to make progress against infectious diseases, and examines how “Uganda is trying to improve the treatment of all types of cancer in ways that make sense in a place with limited resources.” For example, the country is “sending health workers into rural areas to educate and examine women,” and “teaching doctors to use ultrasound to examine lumps that women have already noticed, and quickly identify those who most urgently need treatment,” the newspaper notes. The article tells the story of Mary Namata, a Ugandan woman living in a village outside Kampala, and her difficulties obtaining treatment for tumors in her breast (Grady/Bakyawa, 10/15).

The second article tells the story of Jessy Acen, a 30-year-old Ugandan woman with advanced breast cancer who has to travel nearly 200 miles from her home north of Kampala to receive chemotherapy at the Uganda Cancer Institute. “Patients like Ms. Acen are ‘the raw nub of our situation,’ said Dr. Jackson Orem, the director of the cancer institute, who looked pained as he acknowledged that many patients traveled long distances to Kampala for chemotherapy and had nowhere to sleep but the hospital grounds,” the newspaper notes. “In Africa, women with breast cancer tend to be younger than those in developed countries, and they are more likely to die, in large part because of late diagnosis and inadequate treatment,” the article continues (Grady, 10/15).