Fungating Breast Cancer

Summary:

fungating Breast Cancer

A middle aged woman in Kenya with fungating stage 4 breast cancer.

Breast cancer mortality in Kenya and most of sub-Saharan Africa is about 75% compared to 10% in developed countries according to World Health Organization (WHO). Majority of women in Kenya do not know anything about breast cancer and those who do, they have no means of getting screened. There is acute shortage of healthcare professionals to take care of breast cancer cases. The country of 43 million has a total of 10 mammogram machines as of 2012 according to report published by ministry of health – Kenya. There are only 4 oncologists in Kenya and total of 7 in East Africa.

Introduction:

Meet Janet a breast cancer victim in Kenya. For the purposes of privacy, we’ll call her Janet from Nairobi, Kenya. Janet presented to the hospital with a stage 4 breast cancer. The problem started few years back but she thought it was mastitis and would go away. Janet visited local clinic where she got antibiotics but the problem never resolved.  On seeking second opinion from a different clinic, she was referred to a referral hospital miles away where she was diagnosed with Stage 4 fungating breast cancer.

Diagnosis:

Janet breast cancer diagnosis came 2 years too late from when she noted her first signs and symptoms. Janet did try to get medical help but it is obvious that the medical personnel Janet went to was under-informed about breast cancer. Janet recalls giving her signs and symptoms as:-

  • Inverted nipple
  •  Pain
  • Swollen armpit glands
  • Bloody discharge
  • Discoloration
  • Weight loss

Despite the fact that Janet went to seek medical help after the signs and symptoms were obvious, her prognosis was worsened by the fact that the clinician or the nurse that saw her in a field clinic misdiagnosed her.

On referral to a bigger hospital, a mammogram was not necessary as the cancer had grown to a point of penetrating the skin to form what is called “Fungating” breast cancer. Simple histological biopsies revealed that Janet had a metastatic breast cancer. A CT-Scan revealed involvement of the lungs and the liver. She remains admitted in a hospital waiting for treatment.

 

Treatment:

Obviously, Janet needs surgery to remove the fungating breast cancer mass. She needs chemotherapy and radiation therapy to increase her chances of survival. Janet requires high calorie nutrition, something she cannot afford, let alone other treatment. Janet is a Mom and a bread winner for her family. She requires support for her family financially, spiritually and emotionally.

None of the treatments have been started because there is no money to fund her treatment. Her fate depends on good Samaritans that may come through for her and giver a second chance to live.

 

Prognosis:

The longer Janet waits for treatment, the poorer her prognosis gets. While stage 4 breast cancers has poor prognosis in developing countries, Janet still stands a chance to see another day. Tens of thousands women like Janet are in similar situation in Kenya alone. Millions more women across Sub-Saharan Africa are suffering like Janet.

How you can help:

Janet breast cancer may have happened for a reason. Reading this article may have happened for a reason.  For those who are Christians, Roman 8:28 says, “all things happen together for good for those who trust God”. Janet needs help. Besides Janet, hundreds of thousands of women can benefit from a simple mammogram.

Learn how you can help

If you would like to share your breast cancer story, email your story on Microsoft word to cancerfreewomen[at]gmail.com.

Speak Your Mind

*