Uganda: Let's Join Hands in the Fight Against Cancer

Govt rolls out anti-cancer vaccine in schools (file photo).

Globally, October is commemorated as a Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer is a chronic disease in which body cells grow abnormally and spread out of control. The Uganda Cancer Institute says annually, there are more than 60,000 new cases in Uganda alone.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that cancer causes up to 17,600 deaths every year in Uganda and over the last five years, breast cancer has continually showed signs of being under control, while cervical cancer has more than doubled.

Yet these patients and many others that never get to be accessed by the health systems, need diagnostics, therapeutic and rehabilitative services to control the cancer epidemic.

It is upon this that Nation Media Group (NMG) outlets in Uganda will feature personal cancer experiences aimed at educating the public about the disease. For instance, Mr Tony Glencross, the Managing Director, Nation Media Group - Uganda, says one of the reasons cancer is such a big killer globally, is because early detection is not taken seriously.

"Our job as a media group is to make people aware. People tend to ignore early signs because of ignorance, and yet that is the only upper hand we have against cancer. So we will help our audiences to recognise early symptoms. People need to know signs that should raise their concern. My younger brother died of cancer. He ignored a constant headache for 11 months and by the time he went to check, it was too late.

"We will run stories of survivors. We will run stories of hope. We will focus on stories that raise general awareness on cancer and teach people to self-examine. Cancer can be beaten. Getting cancer is not a deathsentence," Mr Glencross said last week.

From experiences such as that shared by Honorata Nakato in yesterday's newspaper, more than a third of all cancers are preventable through simple lifestyle measures such as stopping smoking, eating healthy foods with less fats, salts and sugars, but more of fresh fruits and vegetables, keeping physically active and reducing alcohol use.

The cancer burden is before us all. The epidemic in one way or another, affects all of us and the tips that will be shared on our platforms come in handy. It is also everyone's noble duty to spread the word and support the NMG in this drive. Together, we can have a cancer-free world.

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