Funds for breast cancer treatment have been announced after patients protested in Mexico City on Thursday and Friday to demand that the federal government reinstate funding for the Breast Cancer Foundation (Fucam) to allow it to continue providing free treatment.
The foundation announced Thursday that it had run out of resources with which to provide free medical services because it had not reached a funding agreement with the National Institute of Health for Well-Being (Inasabi), a new government department tasked with providing universal healthcare.
Fucam previously accessed public funds via the Seguro Popular healthcare scheme, which was replaced by a program run by Insabi on January 1.
“The foundation [has been] forced to stop free [breast cancer treatment] because it lacks supplies and medications,” Fucam said in a statement.
But it announced Friday afternoon that an agreement had been reached whereby Insabi will fund those treatments that had been initiated prior to December 31. However, new patients will have to pay user fees based on their economic means.
On Thursday, about 20 Fucam breast cancer patients blocked Tlalpan Avenue near the Valley of México University to demand that the government guarantee free treatment and medicines, and provide funds to the foundation.
The placards they held up sent a clear message to President López Obrador, or AMLO as he is commonly known. “We want to live,” said one, while others read “AMLO, don’t abandon women with cancer” and “abandonment no, agreement, yes.”
Accompanied by family members and friends, another group of breast cancer victims protested outside the National Palace on Friday, chanting “we want to live,” “subsidy for Fucam,” “I’m fighting for my life, I’m fighting for Fucam” and “if you’re listening presidente, Fucam is presente.”
The breast cancer patients also submitted a letter to López Obrador at a citizen’s attention office at the National Palace, Reforma reported.
“We are sick people with scant resources. We have no possibility of paying for private treatment, we will die … if we’re not attended to at Fucam. … We ask you, as the head of state, to remedy our situation,” it read.
The Breast Cancer Foundation said it was providing free treatment, including chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, to more than 8,500 breast cancer patients of limited means.