Rwanda: Health Ministry Set to Streamline Cancer Registry

28 September 2019

Rwanda will now be able to record accurate data related to cancer cases thanks to the National Cancer Registry that has been established.

Medical experts say the only cancer cases data they have is estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO), but with the national cancer registry, there will be clear status on the disease.

Dr. Faustin Ntirenganya, the Head of Surgery Department at Kigali University Teaching Hospital (CHUK) explained that the exact number of cancer patients is not yet known but will be clearly available following the recently set up cancer registry system.

"There are no consistent and accurate figures at the national level. The available figures are those from hospitals since the cancer registry was not yet available. We are still using estimates by WHO but we are starting the cancer registry," he said.

He added that he receives at least 1,000 patients every year for breast cancer consultation and noted that breast and cervical cancers are the most common cancers in women.

"Of all consultations, we conduct surgery for at least 100 patients with breast cancer. Cancer cases are on the rise and breast cancer is the second killer among cancer disease affecting women," he said.

"Breast cancer attacks more women than men considering that out of 100 patients, only one is male. Cancer can be cured. We do surgery, provide drugs and others go for radiotherapy but not all patients with Mutuelle de Sante have access, especially when it comes to radiotherapy," he said.

Dr. Ntirenganya who is the only breast cancer surgeon at CHUK, said that the hospital also refers to stakeholders who help vulnerable patients access breast cancer treatment.

He said that last week, he received 60 patients with breast cancer who are supposed to be operated in two weeks by a sponsoring team from different countries.

Reverend Osee Ntavuka, the Founder and Legal Representative of Rwanda Legacy of Hope that imports the team of medical doctors for surgery said that they also do brain tumor surgery.

"In March this year, we brought a team of 45 medical surgeons. This time we brought 10 medical surgeons for different diseases including cancer. This is the first time we are bringing a breast cancer surgeon. In March next year, we will bring at least five breast cancer surgeons since there are so many patients. We plan to bring 100 medical experts next year for surgery services," he said.

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