KAMPALA, Uganda — Mary Namata unbuttoned her dress in an examining room at Mulago Hospital, revealing a breast taut and swollen with grape-size tumors that looked as if they might burst through the skin.
“How long have you had this?” a doctor asked gently. Ms. Namata, 48, an elegant woman with stylishly braided hair and a flowing, traditional Ugandan dress, looked away, shamefaced.
“About a year,” she murmured. The truth, she admitted later, was closer to four years.
Such enormous tumors, rare in developed countries, are typical here. Women in Uganda, trapped by stigma, poverty and misinformation, often do not see help for breast cancer until it is too late.