Thousands of African women die needlessly from breast cancer every year. Recent studies have shown that African women have little access to screening and even less to treatment. One of the main problems is that most diagnoses come too late, after the disease is in an advanced state.
Even as late as 2005 only a few of the 19,000 women screened in Tanzania (a fraction of the number who needed it) were offered follow-up services due to limited access to equipment. Of that number, only 55 women were able to undergo mammography which is the only test for breast cancer that has been shown to decrease the mortality of the disease. Frustrated, a significant number of women opted out of treatment in favor of non-medical remedies.
The Colom Foundation is partnering with southern California attorney James Parkinson to bring training and equipment to east Africa through the East African Breast Care Project. Colom and Parkinson have worked extensively with Dr. Brett T. Parkinson and Diane Kane of Intermountain Breast Care Services in Salt Lake city Utah to develop services at EABCP facilities in Tanzania.
Parkinson, along with Colom Foundation founder, Wilbur Colom has successfully put together a program that is giving Tanzanian women access to both timely diagnosis and modern treatment. With the help of generous donations from private donors and institutions, the EABCP has brought screening technology and breast ultrasound to Tanzania and is working to establish a breast cancer clinic in Dar es Salaam.
The goals of the EABCP is to find more individuals or institutions who are willing to donate screening equipment, to train local doctors and staff in Tanzania, to establish screening and diagnosis services, to train East African surgeons in the most modern techniques, and ultimately involve radiation therapists and medical oncologists in providing medical care to these underserved women.