For women with breast cancer in Gaza, Israel and Egypt’s isolation of the area affects nearly every stage of their diagnosis and treatment.
Doctors in clinics and hospitals told surgeon Philippa Whitford, that vital medicines, including chemotherapy drugs, were extremely difficult to gain access to. Several patients reported having had their chemotherapy course interrupted when drugs could not be supplied, or that they were unable to complete the course at all.
Radiotherapy is completely unavailable. Patients requiring it must apply to Israel for a permit to travel to hospitals in East Jerusalem. The application procedure is time-consuming, and patients must cover the cost of their own transport and accommodation.
These women are struggling to access the care they need at the most vulnerable and frightening moment in their lives
As radiotherapy is crucial in allowing breast conservation, this leads to the vast majority of women having full mastectomies and clearance of their axillary nodes, which is largely an unnecessary procedure.
Given the UN estimates that in just another four years Gaza will be uninhabitable – because of pressure on space, food production and provision of water – a solution to this man-made crisis has never been more urgent.
(THE GUARDIAN, PC)