Breast Cancer Patients In North-Eastern Syria .. Double Suffering And Limited Treatment Opportunities

Diana Mohammed, Shireen Tammo and Najbeer Hussein – ASO Network

Jazia Oso (47 years) did not expect that the lumps that began to appear in her right breast and deliberately eradicated them were cancerous tumors, but discovered that after the symptoms that began to appear after the surgery that she underwent, to begin a long treatment phase that does not know its end.

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women in the developing and developed countries alike, and there are annually about 38’1 million new cases of breast cancer and 458,000 deaths from breast cancer, according to the World Health Organization, and the month of October is designated every year. In all countries of the world, to raise awareness of the seriousness of breast cancer and the need to innovate in detection and treatment of it, as well as providing patients with care that reduces their problems.

It is noteworthy that the incidence of cancer has clearly increased in recent years in Syria, as the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization indicated in its report issued in September 2018 that Syria ranks fifth among West Asian countries in the number of cancer cases compared to the population. And that there are 196 people diagnosed with cancer out of every 100,000 Syrians, and that the disease causes the death of 105 people out of every 100,000 Syrians, and at the level of the Health Directorate in Kobani Province, there are 134 cases of breast cancer from the beginning of 2019 until today.

The Syrian regions in general and the north-eastern regions of Syria in particular lack adequate treatment centers for treating breast cancer, and awareness-raising activities on the importance of early detection of the disease are only mandatory, which delays the discovery of the disease, exacerbates the risk, and increases the extent of suffering and treatment costs.

About her experience with breast cancer, Jazia, who is from the village of Joly in Amouda countryside in northeastern Syria, says, “About two years ago I discovered that I had the disease. I felt the beginning of a lump in my right breast. I thought it was normal, like a milk knot or the like. Pain five months ago I had to go to the doctor who diagnosed it as a fibrous knot and not a dangerous thing, which reassured me that I did not visit another doctor. ” She adds that day after day the pain became “unbearable” so I went to visit a doctor in Qamishli, who told her that she needed surgery to remove The two lumps in the breast. Indeed, Jazyah underwent surgery one week after her visit to the doctor, and after a while she noticed a change in the color of the breast and the pain was increasing. In the breast and that she must undergo a surgical procedure to remove the mastectomy before her condition worsens, which is already done.

Dr. Louay Al-Qassem, a specialist in oncology, knows breast cancer as a number of breast cells that begin to multiply abnormally. These cells divide more quickly than healthy cells and may begin to spread throughout the breast tissue, into the lymph nodes and even to other organs in the body. Dr. Al-Qasim attributes the causes of infection to several factors, the most important of which are genetics, genetic defects, exposure to radiation, smoking, excess weight, hormone therapy and others, and symptoms include breast pain, skin color change, and the appearance of a rash around the breast.
Jazia’s suffering did not end there, as she needs chemotherapy sessions to get rid of cancer permanently, and she is not available in her area, so she is forced to go to other regions to get it.

Jazia is not afraid of her illness, but rather confronted him with determination and determination to recover. She advises all women to conduct early detection of breast cancer so that the matter does not develop with them for the excision, as happened with her.
Most of the breast cancer patients discovered their disease late as a result of lack of awareness, lack of treatment centers, and early detection of the disease in the area, which increased their pain and reduced their chances of recovery.

Northeastern Syria recently established centers that provide limited services to breast cancer patients, who often have to complete their treatment in hospitals in the capital, Damascus, after incurring a lot of fatigue, trouble and expenses.
The most important governmental hospital for breast cancer patients in Damascus is Al-Biruni Hospital, which used to receive a large number of cancer patients previously and provide them with free treatment. Today, free treatments are rare due to the difficulty of importing and the economic sanctions imposed on the Syrian regime, and due to the high cost of imported medicines that exceed Most Syrians can afford it, as thousands of cancer patients have had to wait for their turn to get free treatment in government hospitals, which means that their health condition deteriorates due to the lack of medicines available on time. Among the centers located in the northeastern region of Syria are the Pearl Center in Hasaka, which provides chemical doses and medicines, and the mammogram center in Qamishlo, which provides early examination services.

Fatima Muhammad Aref (23 years), director of the Mammograph Center in the city of Qamishlo, says that the center is specialized in early detection of breast cancer, as the number of reviews who go to the center for examination per day ranges from 10 to 15, or 150 monthly reviews, and their number per year is 956. A result of 10 women is positive, i.e. with breast cancer. As for the devices in the center, she adds, “The devices that we have in the center are the most recent devices in the city of Qamishli, which are mammograms and echography, and these devices are capable of showing any malignant or non-malignant tumors in the human body.”

Al-Aref believes that the incidence of breast cancer has increased more in the last two years, as a result of increased pollution and factors that lead to cancer such as radiation weapons, malnutrition, early marriage and other reasons.
Al-Aref pointed out that most of the injured are treated by taking doses in the city of Qamishlo, and the treatment requires costs, which she described as large, noting that recently the rate of women’s turnout for early examination has increased compared to the previous one. “Our center provides, in addition to early examination services, health education and awareness sessions for each Reviewers and reviews who visit the center.

Suad Ibrahim (42 years), a woman from the city of Kobani, is aware of the necessity of early and periodic examination of women to detect breast cancer before it becomes too severe and too late, and therefore she conducts self-examinations for cancer every month after the end of the menstrual cycle by conducting the disease test in the bathroom, by raising the hands to the top of the head and touching the breast to detect For any lump or not, however, she visits a gynecologist two or three times a year to check on her health.

Nahida Abdul Rahman Mesto (45 years), a breast cancer patient from Kobani, says that four years ago, she felt a cramping in her chest and a blockage in the nipple, so she visited the doctor who assured her that it was just milk lumps and should be removed by surgery, but she refused to undergo the operation, and went to treatment with Arabic medicines. Herbal “in implementation of the advice of her friends, and after a month had become more painful to her, she went to the doctor who asked her to analyze a biopsy, which caused her” intense fear and anxiety. ”

Nahida continues that she showed strength and will, and went to take a biopsy at the breast cancer treatment center in Qamishli / Qamishlo to discover that she had the disease, terrifying moments that Nahida lived after confirming the news of the injury. The treatment process by undergoing surgery to remove her breast to prevent the disease from spreading throughout her body, and she continued receiving chemotherapy doses, and given that Kobani was free from any breast cancer treatment centers, she went to the Kurdistan region of Iraq to take eight chemical doses and she monitors her condition every four months once, by conducting checks In general, what costs her large sums, up to 200,000 Syrian Pounds, between examinations, analyzes, etc., the masters are not sure of her recovery after all the surgeries she has undergone and receiving chemical doses calling on other women to conduct periodic checks for early detection of the disease, and not following anyone’s advice regarding the use of OTC medications.

With the approaching end of October, the month of global awareness of the seriousness of breast cancer, breast cancer patients in northern Syria still have little chance of survival, after most of them delayed clinical examination of the disease, which has become in its advanced stages, accompanied by delayed treatment and the absence of free medical care.