Rwanda steps up awareness activities to celebrate World Cancer Day 2019

Kigali, February 03 2019 --- As Rwanda joins the world to celebrate World Cancer Day on February 4th 2019, the Ministry of Health through Rwanda Biomedical Centre is stepping up cancer awareness through different activities. WCD was celebrated today in Kigali City parking at Rwanda Revenue Authority(RRA) at the country level and activities included mass sports, screening and awareness messages such as the risk factors and preventive measures and benefits of early detection for timely cancer management.


Other activities related to this campaign include educational sessions on early breast cancer detection, visiting cancer patients in hospitals, and outreach screening in different districts.

Thousands of Rwandans including young children, adolescents and adults attended the the mass sport activities and benefited to the services. In her message to the population at the occasion, the Minister of Health, Dr Diane Gashumba reminded the Rwandan population that “Cancer is a disease that can be preventable and cured if diagnosed at early stage”. She added that people should avoid exposure to different cancer risk factors (tobacco smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, physical inactivity that causes obesity), they should be vaccinated against HBV and their young girls be vaccinated against HPV. It is also important to perform regular check-up, cervical and breast cancer screening for easy detection of the disease at early stage and help to initiate the treatment on time.


World Cancer Day (WCD) is part of the World Cancer Campaign, founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration. During the World Summit against Cancer, this celebration day was adopted by the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other international bodies for the New Millennium from February 4, 2000. 


Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world. In 2018, 18.1 million new cases of cancer were reported worldwide, and this number is projected to reach 24.6 million by 2030, 9.5 million cancer deaths were recorded in 2012, and this figure is projected to rise to 13.0 million by 2030, when most of the deaths will occur in low-income and middle-income countries.


The survival rate of patients diagnosed with cancers is appallingly low in the developing world including Rwanda. The main gaps for cancer control include ignorance and myths about cancers risk factors, prevention, early detection and treatment.



Rwanda Ministry of Health has undertaken key initiatives to fight cancer and NCDs; these include decentralization of cancer and NCDs services, running massive awareness campaigns sensitizing people on a healthy life style that includes routine medical check-up, exercising and a balanced diet. High risk groups have been given free Hepatitis B vaccination prevent HBV infection that leads to liver cancer.

The immunization against HPV in young girls has reached 93%, which will lead in a significant decrease in incidence of cervical cancer in the future.


In order to achieve better treatment outcomes, cancer should be detected at early stage, we are now focusing on cervical cancer screening and breast cancer early detection at primary health care level where services are available in 52% of district hospitals and health centers under their catchment area.

Cancer care and treatment is provided at tertiary level where we have 5 diagnostic and treatment centers (CHUK, CHUB, Rwanda Military Hospital, King Faisal Hospital and Butaro Cancer Center) providing cancer diagnosis, surgery and chemotherapy to cancer patients. A national radiotherapy center constructed at Rwanda Military Hospital should open very soon and will enable Rwanda to provide a comprehensive cancer treatment. Palliative care services have been integrated at all levels of health system and we are now moving to the community where patients will receive palliative care at home.



For more information, please contact:

Mr Malick KAYUMBA, Rwanda Health Communication Center/ Rwanda Biomedical Center/ Tel: +250 788 350 035