Cyprien Shyirambere, MMED
Director of Oncology
Partners in Health/Inshuti Mu Buzima
Administrative Director, Oncology Program
Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence
Creating infrastructure and training health care professionals to ensure that underserved women in Rwanda receive quality screening and treatment for breast cancer.
Breast cancer is a major public health concern in low- and middle-income countries such as Rwanda, where women have a much higher risk of dying from their disease. This is due, in part, to delayed and late-stage diagnoses. By focusing on training and infrastructure, Drs. Shyirambere and Shulman have developed effective strategies to integrate early detection services into the health care system in rural Rwanda and reduce time to treatment. They are now working to expand these efforts to reach more women with the goal of reducing preventable breast cancer deaths in Rwanda and other low-income countries and shaping national cancer control policy.
Drs. Shyirambere, Shulman, and their colleagues have trained hundreds of Rwandan health care workers in ways to educate patients about breast cancer, perform high-quality breast exams, utilize ultrasound to identify those who may have cancer, and refer patients for timely diagnosis and treatment. So far, their program has provided clinical breast exam screening to thousands of patients and expanded into four districts in the country, leading to significant improvement in patient outcomes in an area where women have a much higher risk of dying of breast cancer. They have also developed a mobile, computer tablet-based electronic medical record to help patients navigate the health care system and obtain timely care and maximize any follow-up care. It has been introduced in four districts in Rwanda.
The team will continue to expand their clinical trials program to other districts in Rwanda and evaluate the program’s impact on the health system and patients. In ongoing efforts, they will optimize the use of the mobile platform and expand its availability to more medical centers. Lastly, they will continue to expand training in diagnostic breast ultrasound and hope to develop innovative virtual curricula to adapt to current travel restrictions.
Cyprien Shyirambere, MD is a pediatrician and currently serves as the Director of Oncology at Partners In Health Rwanda. He received a B.S. degree in General Medicine and Surgery and a MMed degree in Pediatrics at the National University of Rwanda, Butare, Rwanda. He has provided clinical care as well as administrative leadership at Butaro Cancer Center of Excellence (BCCOE) and in the Partner’s In Health national oncology program since 2013. He has been a key leader in the breast cancer early detection program, overseeing program implementation in Butaro and beyond. As a clinician focused on cancer care in Rwanda, he also has profound insights into cancer diagnosis and care in Rwanda. His research focus has been in examining the success and challenges facing a cancer program in rural, resource-limited areas. He has been working closely with Drs. Shulman and Pace and the Rwanda Biomedical Center since 2013 in a collaborative effort to increase breast cancer early detection in under-resourced areas of Rwanda.
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