Thursday, June 30, 2022

Health practitioners say information on cancer critical to prevention

Concern has been expressed over Batswana being less informed on cancer, which Health Practitioners say, together with HIV/AIDs, is one of the biggest causes of death.

Health Practitioners said this at Cancer Association of Botswana (CAB) media and health practitioners’ workshop held in Gaborone on Thursday.

“Lack of information about cancer is even severe than the disease. Actually lack of information is the biggest enemy than cancer,” said Dr Zola Musimar, a cancer specialist from Princess Marina.

Dr Musimar also said Batswana are ignorant in taking cancer medication and said that can end up exacerbating the cancer situation in the body.

He said he has had a problem with some of his patients missing check-ups even giving an excuse of lack of transport.

Musimar said people should learn that they should always visit hospitals for cancer screening; even when one feels any lump or overgrowth in any part of the body. He also said people are reluctant to get into cancer prevention and treatment because of lack of information that brings knowledge about cancer.

The Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Shenaaz El Halabi, said there is a need to focus more on prevention than on state of the art facilities and curing of cancer.

“Provision of health services should not just be based on just curing but also promoting healthy lifestyles,” said El-Halabi.

She added that more money needs to be channelled on prevention methods than on state of the art facilities. She described cancer as a growing public health concern.

The Botswana National Cancer Registry 2003-2011 says that Princess Marina Referral Hospital recorded more than seven thousand cancer cases. Gaborone Private Hospital recorded more than three thousand cases while Mahalapye Hospital recorded one thousand cancer cases.

2007 is the year that recorded many cases of cancer with more than 1600 cases. Skin cancer tops the list on the population as it recorded 23 percent followed by cervical cancer at 14 percent and breast cancer at 9percent. It is the same year that recorded most of cancer deaths as more than 1700 died of cancer during that year. However, during this same year more than 2500 survived.

Skin cancer dominates the male population by 29 percent while in females it is cervix cancer by 26 percent. Children are also vulnerable to blood cancer as it recorded 16 percent followed by skin cases which at 15 percent.

On marital status category, singles are the most affected as they recorded 48 percent, compared to the 27 percent of the married population. Over eight thousand cancer patients between the ages of 30 to 34 were HIV positive.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment were the most provided according to this report. On the organs the report says cervix, breast, vulva and penis top the statistics, which are mostly reproductive organs.

The public was also been called upon to live a healthy lifestyle and avoid smoking and drinking too much alcohol.


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