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Malawi to host cancer summit

SIGNED THE STATEMENT—Mwakasungula

Malawi is expected to host an international summit on breast and cervical cancer later this month, Women’s Coalition Against Cancer (Wocaca) announced Sunday.

The two-day Women’s Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network (We Can) conference will be held in Lilongwe from March 20 to 21 2020.

During the summit, various professionals will share expertise and knowledge on emerging issues surrounding cancer in Africa and the world.

The summit comes when 2.5 million women are diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer worldwide every year.

Estimates also suggest that 5.8 million women will die from breast cancer alone by 2025, two out of three of which will be from low-resource settings.

A statement by Wocaca says the summit will help improve knowledge of breast and cervical cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment among advocates, survivors and primary care providers.

The summit will also connect advocates, physicians, survivors, policy makers and the media, the statement says.

“Despite major advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, too often women lack information and access to timely and effective care, resulting in significant disparities in outcomes globally, the summit is, therefore, a good step in efforts to address these challenges,” the statement reads.

The statement also highlights cancer related higher mortality rates in low-resource and developing countries, including Malawi.

It says a poor health system resulting from poverty, lack of awareness regarding the benefits of early detection and early treatment, complicated referral pathways, cost and misinformation as some of the leading causes of the high mortality rates.

“In many communities, breast and cervical cancer are stigmatised and women are afraid to seek medical attention for their symptoms until it is too late. The summit will, therefore, enhance advoca cy, education, access to treatment and survivor support as integral parts of efforts to address the growing burden of women cancers,” the statement, which Wocaca in Malawi Executive Director, Maud Mwakasungula, has signed, reads.

Since inception in 2003, the annual conferences have connected hundreds of experts and advocates from more than 30 countries across the globe.

This month, the summit will draw participants from Southern and Eastern Africa, Nigeria and United States of America.

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