Dr. Abdul Hamid Ahmida, an oncologist at the University Hospital, has raised concerns about the worrying spread of breast cancer in Libya. He revealed that the hospital receives an average of six to seven cases daily.
In exclusive statements to the Libyan News Agency, Dr. Ahmida highlighted the challenges faced by the oncology department, including intermittent shortages of chemotherapy drugs. This includes the frequently used breast cancer medication Herceptin, reflecting the high incidence rate of the disease.
Dr. Ahmida also emphasised the severe psychological impact breast cancer has on affected women, regardless of their age, and its devastating social consequences on families. He recounted instances of divorce and abandonment of wives by their husbands following mastectomy, along with families struggling with the high costs of treatment in private clinics and the lack of available treatments in public hospitals.
The oncologist pointed out that breast cancer treatment can vary, depending on the type and spread of cancer, often combining surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, biological treatment, and hormonal radiation.
Meanwhile, Thuria Al-Juwaili, the Chairperson of the Sand Foundation for Breast Cancer, in a statement to the agency, outlined the foundation’s three primary objectives. These include funding cancer treatments through donations, organising awareness campaigns, and establishing a medical city in Libya for cancer treatment to alleviate the financial as well as psychological burdens faced by Libyans.
Al-Juwaili urged the collaboration of all sectors in the state, the private sector, and civil society institutions to construct this medical city and establish a specialised scientific research centre for cancer. This centre would provide treatment for cancer patients, support them, and reduce the suffering experienced by their families.
Eman Mahmoud, a surgery specialist at the Sand Foundation, informed the agency that the foundation actively participates in breast cancer awareness campaigns, encouraging women to visit free screening centers. Early detection, she noted, significantly increases recovery chances and can prevent the need for surgery and mastectomy.
Mahmoud also addressed the deficiencies in hospitals, including a lack of resources and equipment for operating rooms, as well as a shortage of chemotherapy treatments, putting many patients at risk.