Afghanistan Cancer Foundation educates and raise the awareness of people in the following areas:
Raise Awareness about Cancer Risk Factors and Primary Prevention
Risk factors for cancer include but are not limited to; tobacco use, alcohol abuse, infectious agents (Hepatitis B and Human Papilloma viruses) and environmental carcinogens. Low-income and poor societies are more prone to these avoidable risk factors than others. A lot of people in Afghanistan are either not aware of these risk factors or do not know how to avoid them (e.g. vaccination for Hepatitis B and Human Papilloma viruses). Therefore, it is important to educate people about these risk factors of cancer and steps to avoid them.
Many cancers can be prevented it is preventable to larger extent. According to WHO, up to 40% of cancers are preventable. Prevention is the easiest and the cheapest way of fighting cancer in Afghanistan given the scarcity of resources in the country. Educating people and raising their awareness about cancer prevention practices is at the top of the Afghanistan Cancer Foundation’s priorities. Furthermore, Afghanistan Cancer Foundation is holding events, conferences and workshops at the community and other levels to raise awareness about cancer prevention.
Raise Awareness about Diagnosis and Early Detection
Early detection means diagnosing cancer at an earlier stage when cancer has a higher possibility for cure, especially in breast and cervical cancers. According to WHO, one third of the cancers could be detected and treated at an earlier stage. Afghanistan Cancer Foundation have two strategies for early detection 1) Awareness of patients about early signs and symptoms of cancer which prompts consulting health care providers who would then diagnose and confirm the situation and 2) screening healthy and asymptomatic individuals.
Inform People about the Existing Cancer Care Services in the Country
Although Afghanistan has still limited resources to provide cancer care services to patients, there are some initiatives that have been taken to improve access of patients to cancer care services. For example, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) of Afghanistan has a Cancer Control Department and has launched a National Cancer Control Program (NCCP) in the country. NCCP opened a separate ward for cancer patients that provide both out-patient and in-patient services. In addition, other hospitals and health facilities like French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) and Isteqlal hospital also provide some cancer care services in Kabul city. Afghanistan Cancer Foundation informs people of these services so they can refer to these institutions for secondary and tertiary prevention services, when needed.