More Is Needed To Counter Breast Cancer In Sudan

By: Aisha Braima

KHARTOUM-MADANI (Sudanow.info.sd) – Sudanese Health Ministry reports indicate that women are most infected with cancer than men in Sudan.

The reports say breast cancer constitutes a big deal of cancer infections among Sudanese women.

Breast cancer develops from breast cells. It usually starts off in the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply them with milk. A malignant tumor can spread to other parts of the body.

If not treated at the right time, breast cancer can be fatal.

The Ministry reports say infections with breast cancer constitute 55 % of infections with other types of cancer among both sexes in the country.

This high rate signals that breast cancer registers the highest incidence of cancer cases among all types of cancer infections in the Sudan, according to Prof. Dafa’allah Abu Idris, tumours specialist at the Khartoum-based National Centre for Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine.

Prof. Abu Idris further elaborates that breast cancer represents 20 percent of all cancer infections in the country. If this type of cancer is excluded, then cancer infections among men are higher than women.


A total of 3,439 of breast cancer infections were reported in 2014, according to the latest statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Infections with uterine cancer have reached 833 cases, ovarian cancer 722 cases, esophageal cancer 505 cases and lymph nodes cancer 488 cases.

According to the official statistics of the National Cancer Institute, (based in Madani, the Gezira State) breast cancer infections among women (in both rural and urban areas) represent 64% and among men 36%.

The Institute is one of two major cancer treatment centres in Sudan.

Director of the Institute Prof. Ahmed Mohamed al-Haj, in a statement to Sudanow, said this high incidence of breast cancer has put women in the first place with respect to overall cancer infections in the country. He said the breast cancer among women takes the first place as compared with other types of cancer among women.

WHO Representative Ala’a al-Nur has said that breast cancer takes the highest incidence of cancer infections in all the Sudanese states.

Surgery consultant at the Khartoum Breast Care Centre Dr. Omar al-Farouq Hafiz al-Hakeem said the main cause of breast cancer infection is still unknown. But certain factors such as hereditary factors and family medical history may be looked into as infection indications. However, these two considerations may contribute 10 percent of the causes of the disease, he said.

National Cancer Institute, Madani
National Cancer Institute, Madani

Other indications can be the emergence of some growths, benign tumours, obesity, exposure to radiation, the use of some drugs that contain hormones, smoking and a woman’s age might also be taken into consideration.

Dr. Hakeem said cancer therapy includes chemical drugs, treatment with radiation or hormones. Surgical intervention is also considered, according to the nature of treatment and the patient’s condition. The patient may need more than one type of treatment. Treatment of breast cancer depends on the scale of the infection, as early detection can help with better results.

“It is important for women to make annual medical checkups after age 35. This would help with early detection. Health education is also necessary to raise public awareness about the disease, as early diagnosis is very essential,’’ he added.

Director of the Khartoum Centre for Breast Care David Michel Kamil said his centre provides treatment for both benign and malignant growths. He said his centre has so far conducted 628 breast removal surgeries since the centre was opened in 2010 as well as the treatment of 820 cases with chemical drugs.

Dr. Kamil said the Centre receives a weekly 25 cases of different breast ailments, including 5-8 cancer cases. Cases of breast cancer among men stand at 2 percent of the cases received, he said.


Prof. Al Haj maintains that ‘’cancer can be defeated by early detection, that is why we should have a system of early detection in the country based on age, care for preventive medicine and medical survey.’’

“Patients treated for cancer in Europe usually have a low rate of zero to one percent of the degree of infection, that is why they are cured quickly, raising the rate of cured cases to 90 percent. But here we receive cases in the third and fourth degree of infection, which are too late.

Dr. Nahla Ja’afar, radiotherapy specialist at both the National and Khartoum cancer treatment centres is of the view that ‘’cancer is not one disease as each cancer infection can be viewed in a number of different stages. Accordingly the type of treatment is prescribed according to the stage of the infection.’’

‘We cannot talk about the future of the infection unless we determine the type of infection and its stage,’’ she said.

“All in all, the earlier the disease is diagnosed, the bigger the chance of its elimination,’’ she said.

“In the treatment of cancer we speak of what we can call the first or second or third line of defence. This is a good thing. But unfortunately people fear cancer and do not consult the doctor at an early stage. The later the case is diagnosed, the more complicated the case would become, as the disease can spread to other parts of the body,’’ she said.

The WHO latest report on Sudan has indicated absence of early cancer detection in Sudan’s primary and public health utilities. It said these utilities should provide uterine cancer examinations as well as cytologic diagnosis for the uterus and physical visual examinations with acetic acid for cancer patients. It also indicated the absence of primary health care in public health utilities, the absence of clinical breast examination and X-Ray checks, as well as excreta blood tests for cancer patients in public health utilities

The WHO has in its latest report on the global situation of cancer, indicated 7600 fatalities in 2014 among females in the Sudan because of cancer, 23.9% of them because of breast cancer, 7.2% due to ovarian cancer, 7% due to uterine cancer, 6.8% due to lymph nodes cancer and mouth and throat cancer 6.6%. The Organization had put fatalities due to other types of cancer at 48.6%.





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