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Pink October: Covid-19 impacts early diagnosis and patient care

Written by FDM

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an overall impact on the management of serious pathologies, including cancer. This is why the practitioners are unanimous about the continuous mobilization against breast cancer.

“One in 8 women is at risk of developing breast cancer during her lifetime,” recalls Dr. Kamal Lahbabi, oncologist-radiotherapist, co-founder of the Casablanca International Oncology Center (CIOC).

With nearly 10,500 women diagnosed each year, Morocco is particularly affected by the disease which has the highest incidence of all cancers nationally.

The “Pink October” awareness campaign, which is usually the occasion to encourage women to take their exams in order to detect possible anomalies, is taking place this year in a specific context. While it is true that therapeutic advances allow excellent results, the time factor remains an important variable in the management of cancer. Thus, many oncologists and civil society actors, engaged for several years in the fight against breast cancer, insist on the importance of early diagnosis.
“It is imperative to do a mamo-ultrasound at the slightest suspicion”, underlines Dr Kamal Lahbabi. “It is our duty to continue to raise awareness of the importance of screening, in view of the cases of breast cancer that we observe every day,” he recalls.
Breast cancer has been on the rise since 2008. Each year nearly 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 deaths due to breast cancer are detected, with a high prevalence in developing countries. “A physical examination is strongly recommended for women under 45 years old. Beyond that, a mammogram every two years is necessary”, explains the oncologist.
Indeed, the stage of the disease has an important influence on management. The health crisis should therefore in no way dissuade women from screening or continuing their treatment, but while maintaining the recommended protective barrier measures. “Therapeutic advances allow significant cure rates (over 90%), but once again, on the condition that the disease is taken care of early,” reiterates Dr. Lahbabi.