We can win against cancer

With the numerous Cancer Runs, are we going to run over Cancer? Are we going to have a car wash for every needy Cancer patient in Uganda? These are some of the lingering questions currently in the public domain conversation of Ugandans are the whole nation doesn’t have a single Radiotherapy machine. In the recent past, we had the Rotary Cancer Run 2016, where 0ver 36000 sweated it out as they raised about 400m for a cancer machine for Nsambya Hospital. This month being the month to accentuate the fight against cancer, a lot has been organized; digital campaigns #SaveCarol , #EachOneReachOne, #Bunker4Mulago other runs, poetry and more. It demonstrates  the will of ordinary citizens in the fight against this scourge by drawing courage and energy from their  personal experiences.

To be diagnosed with cancer in Uganda can equate to a death sentence as there’s also reported fake anti-cancer drugs on the market. Can’t some of these goon importers be charged with murder! I will choose to save this particular conversation for another time.

Let’s talk about the cancer state of my nation Uganda,  The incidence rates are higher for prostate, breast and cervical cancers. In 2015 according to the Kampala Cancer Registry, we registered 5.7 per cent new cases of prostate cancer. For breast and cervical cancer, it is 3.7 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively. In population of 100k, 3,700 people are newly registered breast cancer patients. Alone, breast cancer victims average 22000 per year. In about 20 years, breast cancer will be the commonest cancer among women. What a sad future to possibly unfold on top of a helpless present!! There is an ongoing conversation on the economic implications of this as women affected are the most professionally and family active.

The ignored but serious variant is Prostate cancer. An estimated one in six white men and one in five African men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime with the likelihood increasing with age. The presenting symptoms commonly include urinary retention and back pain. For the menimists, this should be our real fight.

To share my personal insights, the fight against cancer is sure on and steady. But we need to think sustainably if we are not to burn out. In the light of evolving dietary modifications from our Luwombo to Kentucky Plastic Chicken, from playing football to FIFA and increasing environmental stressors, the fight upon us is a huge one. I believe with can win through structural and lifestyle modifications.

Structural; here I call on government and related NGOs to take the fight to lowest levels. We need to have routine cervical cancer screening at all local health centers(HC) as far  HC IIIs and consistently. The focus should be on preventive. As many as 80% of all cancers are CURABLE with early screening and diagnosis.

With lifestyle modification, we need to unlearn most of the predisposing daily habits. One needs to live cautiously and actively; eat a fruit daily , vegetables, stop smoking, moderate on alcohol intake (not more than 2 units daily),  practice safe & protected sex, and have at least 150mins of moderate physical exercise per week.

Cancer should be fought in our daily routine. We as, Ugandans, Africans and the globe must to own up to our own health. Yes together, we can win against cancer.

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4 thoughts on “We can win against cancer”

  1. Well said Prosper, the good thing is; at least for Uganda you have numbers and statistics. Here in Rwanda we don't, I don't trust the ones we have. The more youths understand and engage into fighting this scourge, the better the chance to do better.

  2. Nice piece Mr. Prosper, prevention is better than cure like they say, life style is key. On the other hand, routine check ups need be emphasised! In a research done on breast cancer and knowledge of women on mammography, most of the women had never heard of such procedure, public needs continued information regarding cancer!

  3. Mujabi Ivan Stanley

    I congratulate u Prosper for the inituative undertaken... Cancer is a big deal especially in our country uganda as far as the current status of our nation. If u have come up with such a strategy then theres hope for our country. I pray that the government stands with u to fight this battle fr the ground roots. God bless u Prosper, God bless Uganda.

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