Ukraine launches campaign to fight breast cancer


An awareness-raising campaign urging women to pay more attention to breast examination has kicked off in Ukraine. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer accounts for 16% of cancer diagnoses in women. Early detection methods including breast examinations are one of women’s most effective tools for fighting the disease.

Svitlana discovered the tumor for the first time on her own. She found a lump a little smaller than a bean in her breast while taking a shower.

“I went to the doctor, they did an analysis and it turned out that it was a malignant tumor. In May 2014, I had surgery,” says Svitlana Topolska, Patient, National Cancer Institute of Ukraine.

Liudmyla Krakhmalieva has been working as a radiologist for 40 years. According to her, the demographics of the disease have changed. Breast cancer used to occur mainly in women over the age of 60. Now, she is seeing more and more cases in women in their 20s. In the latter case, the disease is more aggressive. Breast cancer is also being detected more often in pregnant women. However, early diagnoses can save the life the mother — and reduce the negative impact on the baby, as well.

“These women should have mammograms done, even if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. There are special methods for this. We have a special protection.Therefore, it is possible to provide women with breast cancer screenings, which detect any tumors, and perhaps to begin treatment in time,” says Liudmyla Krakhalieva, Radiotherapist.

In Ukraine, more than 16 thousand women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. 20% discover that they have cancer only its later stages. Because of this, oncologists report that only 60 out of 100 Ukrainians enter remission. In Europe, however, this figure is higher. 85 out 100 women win the fight against cancer.

“In Ukraine, the breast cancer rate has increased by 20% since 2008. The death rate from this disease increased by 14%. It should be noted that the effectiveness of treatment depends on the stage at which the tumor is detected, as well as on the results of this treatment,” explains Olha Lihirda, Oncologist.

Experts say that thanks to such awareness campaigns, women are beginning to consult OBGYN’s earlier and more often. Mobile clinics available to women living in rural villages also contribute to early detection of disease. Every year thousands of Ukrainians are getting screened for cancer because they understand that it increases the chances of detecting cancer early, when it is most likely to be curable.

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