Malawi First Lady Prof Gertrude Mutharika has appealed to women in the country to seek medical attention every time they notice anything strange in their breasts, as it may signal the onset of breast cancer. She also urged the women to screen for cervical cancer, noting that the disease although the disease is treatable, it is taking lives of many women in the country. Madame Mutharika was speaking at Mpala Primary School in Mulanje South East where she held an interactive meeting to discuss issues of safe motherhood especially on breast and cervical cancer, cholera and HIV/Aids. The First Lady said Malawi is losing a lot of productive women, who would have helped in the development of their communities, but are dying of cancers. “It is a sad reality that many women don’t know their status as far as cancer is concerned, because many of us, don’t believe in going to the hospital when they think all is well in their bodies,” she said. According to Prof Mutharika, is it very important to know your status because hospital personnel has been trained to assist in such cases. “Hospital staff is ready to provide civic education to any woman who seeks to get screening for cervical or breasts cancer,” she added. Speaking earlier, Safe Motherhood coordinator for Mulanje District Hospital Mrs Ellene Mhango said many women don’t go for screening for cervical cancer because the virus that causes cancer takes almost 10 years to start showing symptoms. “Cervical cancer is difficult for any woman to just notice it because it doesn’t show any signs until at a later stage when the disease has already destroyed the cervix.” “It is therefore incumbent upon all of us women to safeguard our future and that of our children by getting tested for cancer, both breasts and cervical, HIV/Aids and many other diseases,” said Mrs Mhango. Member of Parliament for the area Naomi Kilekwa expressed gratitude to the First Lady and asked the women to take seriously, the advice they have received and go for screening. The meeting is part of a series of meetings by the First Lady whose aim is to compliment government’s efforts in dealing with issues of safe motherhood in the reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality. Besides addressing the women, the First Lady also donated assorted items to over 200 elderly people from the area, especially those who are vulnerable and have no source of income.