6 November 2017

Zimbabwe: All Should Join Fight Against Cancer

editorial

Statistics provided by the World Health Organisation on cancer are frightening, with the disease now the leading cause of death globally, having claimed 8,8 million lives in 2015 alone.

It becomes of even more grave if one considers that in 2012 alone, 14 million people had new cancer infections worldwide.

Well, 14 million is equal to the population of Zimbabwe.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care indicates that 7 000 new cancer cases are reported annually and 60 percent of them, according to the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry, are HIV related.

Of these, only 1 300 to 2 000 cases are treated with radiotherapy.

We have to accept it -- cancer has popped up as an emerging burden on Zimbabwe's health delivery system.

The situation has been made worse by the advent of HIV and Aids, with officials indicating that 70 percent of those affected by the different cancers live with the infection.

This is why the fight against cancer calls for more concerted efforts from stakeholders.

Cancer has since become a national problem, and this calls for urgent attention and doubling of efforts to fight it.

If the statistics cited above do not jolt us into action, then we do not know what will.

It must be understood that cancer has no discrimination, it may be you today and tomorrow it's someone else.

This is why we welcome the leading role taken by the country's biggest media group, Zimpapers, last week, which demonstrated to the corporate world what should be done to help ease the cancer burden.

Zimpapers held a "power walk" on Saturday last week, and the event was double edged.

The five-kilometre walk was aimed at raising funds for the fight against cancer and spreading awareness about the "silent killer" disease.

Zimpapers has taken the fight against cancer so seriously that it has entered into a partnership with Island Hospice, a non-profit organisation offering palliative care to cancer patients.

The $5 registration fee paid by the participants for the power walk was channelled to Island Hospice's coffers to strengthen the organisation's capacity.

While we are aware that there are many corporates out there involved in various social responsibility programmes, we urge them to take a leaf from Zimpapers and channel some of their resources towards the fight against cancer.

Being the leading killer diseases in the country, it does not need debate to solicit involvement of the corporate world in stopping cancer.

Corporates need a healthy workforce, and fighting against the leading cause of deaths should be their priority.

We reckon that the awareness campaigns against cancer are some of the difficult ones, as they involve discouraging people from some of their long-acquired lifestyles.

This is because some of the causes of cancer include tobacco use, alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity and low fruit and vegetable intake.

That cancer is part of non-communicable diseases makes it extremely difficult to deal with.

One can look very healthy, without any signs of illness, yet the disease will be eating them up.

This calls for constant and sustained medical check-ups to ensure that the disease can be detected early.

Otherwise late-stage presentation has been blamed for the numerous deaths caused by cancer.

This is why we urge other corporates to emulate Zimpapers and put October, which is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, on their events calendar to ensure they do something yearly about this huge problem.

Zimpapers has been doing it since 2015, and the results have been encouraging.

The media group has been using its various communication channels -- newspapers, radio stations and Online publications -- to reach as many people as possible with the message of combating cancer.

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