By Rotary Service
Until the 1950s, cervical cancer killed more women in the U.S. than any other type of cancer. Widespread screening, early detection, timely access to treatment, and interventions have drastically decreased the number of cervical cancer-related deaths in the United States, but the disease remains prevalent in the West African country of Senegal. Every year, more than 1,400 Senegalese women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and hundreds of them die from it.
To Rotarian Dr. Andrew Dykens, a professor of family medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), the situation is especially saddening given how easily this form of cancer can be detected and treated.
In 2010, Andrew Dykens launched Peace Care, a nonprofit that helps communities and organizations work together to bring resources where they are needed. “It dawned on me that the Peace Corps should be working more closely with, for example, academic centers, because these centers have technical expertise but don’t have a footprint in local settings,” he says. “Meanwhile, the Peace Corps has people who are extraordinarily knowledgeable about the local context.” A former Peace Corps volunteer himself, Andrew decided to combine his professional career, his involvement with Rotary, and his experiences with Peace Corps to help address a dire need in Senegal.
With the help of Peace Corps in Senegal, Rotarians in the U.S. and in Senegal, and UIC, Andrew is taking action against cervical cancer. Read this complete story.
This story was originally featured in The Rotarian magazine by Anne Ford.
Andrew is one of the founding members of the World Health Run, a worldwide running event to improve health equity in the U.S. and globally on World Health Day. The run aims to raise funds that would benefit health equity-focused projects and advocacy efforts, improve access to health services and strengthen sustainable health systems globally; and educate and engage individuals and communities about health equity. The inaugural run took place earlier this month in Chicago, IL, USA. Learn more about getting involved and participating in this annual event.