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Advocating for women’s health and promoting breast cancer prevention in Ukraine

Credits: Ukrainian Women’s Fund

Breast cancer is the number 1 cause of cancer deaths among Ukrainian women over the age of 30. The main reason for this is late diagnosis. Most women are not aware that regular self-examinations are an effective way of detecting breast cancer, a disease that can be treated effectively if diagnosed early. However, the women’s rights organization “Stopcancer” is working to change this with the support of Canada’s Women’s Voice and Leadership Ukraine program.

Maria Adamchuk-Korotytska is a breast cancer survivor from Lutsk, Ukraine, who was first diagnosed 10 years ago. Adamchuk-Korotytska and other cancer survivors have created the NGO “Stopcancer”, which works in the Volyn region to promote breast cancer prevention awareness and vaccination against the Human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer.

Funding from the Women’s Voice and Leadership Ukraine initiative enabled Adamchuk-Korotytska and others to provide social advocacy training. The organization received a grant to organize an awareness-raising campaign on the importance of self-examination for early breast cancer detection.

Within 6 months of forming “Stopcancer,” Adamchuk-Korotytska and her colleagues had already reached thousands of women in remote areas of the region. In fact, a quarter of the communities targeted by the campaign have already developed relevant programs and will approve funding for them by the end of 2021. Now, she and her colleagues have an ambitious plan to start an all-Ukrainian coalition of women’s rights organizations to advocate for similar programs at the national level.

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