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No, the Africa Cancer Foundation is not offering free breast cancer treatment in 2024

IN SHORT: Social media messages claim that readers can get free medical treatment for breast cancer in 2024, through a Kenyan-based charitable trust. But the Africa Cancer Foundation has denied the claim.

A message sent to us by subscribers on WhatsApp claims that women can get free medical treatment for breast cancer, simply by sending an email to the address in the message.

“Please If you know of any lady battling BREAST CANCER of whatever stage please advise her to contact [email protected] before 7th march, all medical expenses are free,” the claim reads.

The email address likely belongs to managing trustee Dorothy Nyong’o at the Africa Cancer Foundation (ACF), a charitable trust in Kenya that creates awareness on the prevention, management and treatment of cancer in Africa.

The message also suggests that readers forward it to groups to “save a woman’s life”.

The same claim, with the same email address, has also been doing the rounds on Facebook in South Africa here, here, here, here, here and here

But is this foundation offering free breast cancer treatment to women in 2024? We checked.


False hope can be devastating – always verify information before sharing

Breast cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the breast grow out of control, causing tumours to form, according to the World Health Organization.

If breast cancer is left untreated, the tumours can spread through the body and become fatal.

Some of the symptoms of breast cancer include a breast lump or thickening, often without pain; change in size, shape or appearance of the breast; and dimpling, redness, pitting or other changes in the skin.

Seeking treatment for breast cancer in its early stages is important, but many African women only get diagnosed in the late stages of the disease. 

For those who cannot afford breast cancer treatment, messages like this one circulating on social media can give false hope. So it’s important to verify information before sharing it on social media. 

‘The message being circulated is out-of-date and no longer relevant’

The claim has been debunked in a statement dated 5 February 2024 and published on the Africa Cancer Foundation’s website

In early 2022 Nyong’o did send a WhatsApp, on behalf of the ACF, inviting 200 breast cancer patients to sign up for free surgeries. The original WhatsApp message read

Once again this year we are doing 200 free breast cancer operations. If you know anyone who requires breast surgery it’s absolutely free of charge including hospital stay. Please forward the name of the patient before March 7 to Dorothy Nyong’o.

But the ACF’s statement makes clear that the message as it has resurfaced on social media is out of date and false:

Unfortunately, there are no free surgeries being offered this year as the funding is not there. The message being circulated is out-of-date and no longer relevant.

The ACF told the public to follow the foundation on Instagram and Facebook for up-to-date information.

The ACF debunked the false message in Instagram and Facebook posts published February 2024.

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