Hundreds of breast cancer patients shared their experiences and difficulties with the disease during a forum yesterday in Ha Noi.
The participants came from different clubs for survivors and people currently battling breast cancer in Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang, Hue and Can Tho. The forum is part of the 2013-2015 project We Care for Her, which uses the slogan "Together we care for women and prevent breast cancer."
The project was developed by the Ministry of Health, the Supportive Fund for Cancer Patients-Bright Future Fund and the Roche Company. It was conducted in Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang, Hue and Can Tho.
During the forum, women discussed eating properly, post-treatment exercises and integrating back into the community. They also talked with medical workers about creating better treatment conditions in hospitals across the country.
Professor Nguyen Ba Duc, deputy chairman of the Supportive Fund for Cancer Patients-Bright Future Fund, said people lack information about the disease, and organisations don't have enough resources to campaign for more awareness.
"Patients often get treatment at a late stage, which leads to less than desirable results," he said.
In fact, as many as 50 per cent of breast cancer patients could be cured with treatment and surgery, but the work was not easy in an average-income country like Viet Nam, he said.
Pham Hong Anh, a member of the HCM City Breast Cancer Club, said encouragement from family, doctors and the community was very important for cancer patients, so they could have hope during treatment.
Anh said information on disease prevention and detection should be spread through media so women could get treated as early as possible. Screenings and examinations were important, and should be organised more often, she said. Medical professionals also needed more training to treat patients more effectively, she said.
Every year about 150,000 new cancer patients are registered in Viet Nam, and more than 75,000 patients die from the disease, according to the Ministry of Health. About 7,000 breast cancer cases are diagnosed annually, with 35 per cent of people dieing from the disease.