IT is quite worrying how little the generality of the population know about certain conditions that stalk them, especially now due to the rapid lifestyle changes that have seen people changing eating and exercise habits, with most having adopted sedentary lifestyles.
One of the most serious conditions among the non-communicable diseases is cancer. The Cancer Association of Zimbabwe reports that one in every six deaths in the country is caused by cancer, way ahead of tuberculosis and HIV and Aids.
Though more people are at risk of dying of cancer than other conditions; many people would know more about how to protect themselves from HIV and Aids than they would about cancer.
Breast cancer and prostate cancer are the major killers among women and men.
Apart from healthy eating, it is reported by researchers that a healthy sex life could be of benefit to men as it helps clear toxins from the prostate.
While it sounds like quite some novel idea, the same sort of feeling greeted the announcement that circumcision could reduce the chances of contracting HIV by up to 60 percent.
However, this has been shown to be effective and many men have now been circumcised to a point that the practice has gained acceptance.
We believe it shall also happen with ways of fighting cancer. In addition to the sex-linked measures, not having more than three pints of beer in a week for men and a glass of wine for women are also said to reduce chances of developing cancer.
We are told that regular check-ups are one of the ways of ensuring a healthy prostate. The check-ups also apply to breasts, in breast cancer screening that is available at major hospitals.
“People should therefore, eat healthy and go for cancer screening regularly as we have realised many people die because of late diagnosis though cancer is not supposed to be killing anyone,” CAZ information officer Priscilla Mangwiro was quoted as having said.
Though not mentioned by the association, due to our different beliefs and customs, there is a lot of misdiagnosis that happens, especially around the condition of cancer.
Once a relative tests positive for cancer, ‘‘family experts’’ might dismiss it as the result of witchcraft and when the period of denial is over, without any improvement in the patient’s condition, the same relatives then decide to take the person to hospital. Usually the cancer would have advanced terribly.
It is such delays that have made many believe that cancer cannot be treated, though early treatment has saved many lives, including some prominent individuals in our society.