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Renewed Hope for Breast Cancer Patients in Developing World

  • October 21, 2013

Cambodian single mother and grandmother Ros Kimyern was growing increasingly afraid. The small, hard lump on her breast had lingered for months, and her condition was worsening. When she had first noticed the painful mass in her breast, she sought care from the traditional Khmer healers that she trusted more than modern hospitals. Now she was beginning to experience doubts.For fifty-year-old Ros, surviving breast cancer meant staying close to those she loved most in the world: her daughter and grandsons. She had to fight. A friend told her about the Sihanouk Hospital Center for HOPE, a hospital supported by AmeriCares, where she could receive treatment that she could afford on her modest farmer’s income. Before sunrise the next morning, she was in a taxi bound for the hospital. When she saw the doctor’s smile, she immediately felt deeply relieved. She had come to the right place. The next day, her surgeons removed the cancerous mass. Immediately after surgery, she started medical treatment and feels better every day.From hopeless to healthy“Without this hospital, I would have died for sure,” she said. “I was hopeless. I didn’t want to leave my daughter and grandsons to live alone in this world because I love them very much. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t see them anymore. Every day I cried with my daughter. I am really grateful for the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE and the donors that stand behind the hospital. Thank you so much to all the staff and to the doctors who tried their best to help me and took very good care of me.” Now she serves as a peer educator at the hospital. She teaches 25 women each month about the importance of early detection and care. Ros has already referred three other women to the hospital for screening – supporting other women suffering from a situation similar to her own.Help Around the WorldRos KimyernIn many developing countries, the incidence of breast cancer is rising, and the disease remains a leading cause of cancer deaths in women throughout the world. AmeriCares is working to change that by delivering medications and supporting programs that hospitals and low-income patients otherwise would not be able to afford.Ros received treatment at the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE through the Breast Cancer Prevention and Treatment Program, started in 2008 with the support of AmeriCares and AstraZeneca. In 2012, doctors screened 257 women for breast cancer, of which 51 received a positive diagnosis and began treatment. Notably, 24 percent of these new patients were diagnosed with early-stage cancer, a significant improvement over prior years when nearly all patients presented with end-stage cancer, which is more likely to be fatal. This impressive rise in early detection due the program’s strong awareness component: 505 local women such as Ros have been trained as peer educators, reaching 2,300 women with educational materials and counseling in the past year alone. In addition, the program trains doctors and nurses in patient care guidelines, radiology, pathology and surgical techniques. In October and November 2012, the program is enabling two Cambodian practitioners to receive medical training at the renowned Tata Memorial Institute in Mumbai, a regional center of excellence.In countries such as Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, and the U.S. AmeriCares is helping hundreds of women access the breast cancer care they need. In 2011, AmeriCares delivered $1.2 million worth of breast cancer medicines to cancer clinics that treat underserved women.Donate Now