One out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her lifetime. Early diagnosis and advanced treatment options can bring about a reasonably good prognosis. For women who cannot afford basic health services, like mammograms, the outlook is a lot less optimistic. In Sierra Leone, even less so, since a regularly functional mammogram machine is non-existent; therefore even the women who have access to funds do not have the option of early detection.MEPS Trust Well Woman Clinic
was launched in March 2006 by the Minister of Health and Sanitation on the 25th anniversary of the death of Melvine Edith Patricia Stuart and the first anniversary of the death of her niece, Valerie Nicol. They both succumbed to breast cancer.
Over the last ten years, through funds generously donated by organisations and individuals, it has provided the following services to thousands of patients:- General health, breast and cervical cancer screening, awareness and advocacy, affordable ultrasound screening of pregnant women and screening for diabetes, STIs, hypertension, obesity and promotion of prostate cancer awareness among men.
Statistics on breast cancer from the Clinic indicate that between 2006 and 2015, 42% of women screened had some form of breast abnormality and 4% of the women with breast abnormalities was diagnosed with breast cancer. The earlier years saw women with 3rd – 4th stages of breast cancer attending the Clinic when pain management was the main treatment required. Later years showed the benefits of greater breast cancer awareness. The majority of women now attend the Clinic for routine breast examination which should result in early diagnosis of the disease but unfortunately such opportunities are lost because of the absence of a mammogram.
Encouraged by nationwide advocacy more and more women are reporting lumps and other abnormalities early instead of resorting to traditional treatments such as smoking the breast.
Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer but early diagnosis saves lives and allows many more women to retain their breasts as localized cancers can be removed without resorting to mastectomy (breast removal).
Take a minute or so and watch the different stages of breast cancer seen at the Clinic. A mammogram can detect breast cancer early before it gets to the stages seen. Please support our Gofundme appeal and save more lives.
Find out more about our work: www.wellwomanclinic.org