STORIES urging women to do breast self-exams to check for lumps or other breast changes have been written enough times, yet still we do not listen.
Something as simple and costless as checking for lumps can save lives as early cancer detection is important in handling the breast cancer scourge.
Women have been asked to do breast self-test at least once a month or whenever they can so that they can check for lumps or any breast changes that may signal cancer.
With late detection signalled as one of the major obstacles to the management of breast cancer and early detection guaranteed as long as one does simple tests before a mirror, there should be no excuse for late detection of breast cancer.
It is sad to hear that most women wait to have a foul-smelling, painful and ulcerating breast before they visit a doctor when every lump should be a cause for concern.
Breast self-exams help you to be familiar with how your breasts look and feel so you can alert your healthcare professional if there are any changes or causes for concern.
According to researchers, 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important.
Cancer is an ignored yet deadly disease BUT the efforts made to raise cancer awareness should not be restricted to (the breast cancer month of) October alone. They should continue unabated all year round until cancer ceases to be a scare.
Recent research shows that up to 90 percent of cancers are caused by environmental factors. This includes lifestyle related factors, such as the use of tobacco and tobacco products but strangely, not much is done to educate people about the dangers of using these products.
The Cancer Association of Zimbabwe needs support from government, the corporate world and non-governmental organisations to achieve their mission to collectively reduce the disease burden due to cancer through promotion of action research, education, supportive counseling, advocacy and other evidence based interventions.
Education to prevent breast cancer or ensure early detection is not widespread enough and many people – especially in rural areas – do not even know how to inspect themselves for signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
For those that are diagnosed, the major problem remains access to cancer drugs and their affordability.
If a prominent person like the late Tongai Moyo, with all the resources at his disposal as a successful sungura mucisian loved by many, had problems financing his treatment for cancer, what more for the ordinary citizen?
Research into the cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of cancer must be more rigorous. The same way budgets are made by legislators to educate people about Aids, money should also be set aside to handle cancer awareness and treatment.