- Chiduleni is among patients who have been referred to Kenya by MSF through a temporary referral system for cervical cancer treatment
- Current estimates by Human Papillomavirus and Related Cancers data in Malawi indicate that every year 4,145 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer
Chimwemwe Chiduleni from Ndirande, Malawi is a mother of two who was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
She said her life has been negatively affected by the disease as she often wakes up feeling weak and with back and hip pains.
"People in this country think that once you have been diagnosed with cervical cancer you will not be cured. Amongst themselves, they say how this disease is dangerous," Chiduleni said.
She is among patients who have been referred to Kenya by MSF through a temporary referral system for cervical cancer treatment.
"I am very positive and my hopes have been raised. I already feel a big change in my body and I know that all will be well," Chiduleni said.
Nessie Kasiyabweya, 50, a mother of three said she became stressed after her cancer diagnosis.
She said her trip to Kenya has however given her optimism that she will get better.
"I will however miss my family because I will be far away from them, for at least six weeks.," Ksiyabweya said.
"What matters to me more is that I am going to a place where I will get cure for this disease."
Former MSF project coordinator in Malawi Sylvie Goossens said currently, of patients that come to them for initial consultations, 50 per cent or more arrive with a stage that is already too advanced to be treated with surgery or a combination of chemotherapy and surgery.
"This leaves us with no option but to send them for radiotherapy, which is not available in Malawi," he said.
Dr George Chilinda MSF surgical oncologist at Queen Elizabeth Hospital said many patients have been forced to seek help outside the country due to inadequate cancer diagnostic services.
"What has been proven to eradicate or significantly reduce the occurrence of cervical cancer is the HPV vaccine. But in Malawi, it's not available even to young girls," Dr Chilinda said.
"Screening is also a challenge because the resources and treatment options are not available."
Malawi has a population of 6.03 million women aged 15 years and above who are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Current estimates by Human Papillomavirus and Related Cancers data in Malawi indicate that every year, 4,145 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 2,905 die from the disease.
Cervical cancer ranks as the top most frequent cancer among women in the country and the first most frequent cancer among women aged between 15 and 44.
Inadequate cancer diagnostic services has pushed many women to travel to Kenya to seek services including life-saving radiotherapy.