For Online E-newspaper
Daily Nation : February 4th 2014
DAILY NATION Tuesday February 4, 2014 MINISTRY OF HEALTH WORLD CANCER DAY Thеmе: ‘Dеbunk thе Myths’ Kenya takes action to ensure patients and their families have better support and access to quality treatment By EVANS ONGWAE firstname.lastname@example.org enya is implementing its first national cancer strategy that came into use in 2011 and will run up to 2016. This marks a major step in the effort to control a disease that is on the upsurge and has become a drain on the economy as families spend fortunes in the treatment of their loved ones. K The National Cancer Control Strategy aims to build on the existing health system in Kenya to strengthen cancer prevention and control capacities both in public and private sectors through control of risk factors associated with cancer, investment in cancer control workforce, equipment and through cancer research. This is the first cancer control strategy document to be developed. It consolidates aspects in cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and care for cancer patients as well as investment needed to deliver these services. The strategy particularly reinforces the need for action to prevent cancer, especially those related to smoking and other modifiable risk factors. Enhanced health promotion, education and advocacy will enable the government and other partners to improve public understanding of cancer. It will empower the public in general, to adopt healthier lifestyles and healthcare professionals in particular to recognize the symptoms of cancer and identify people at risk or living with cancer. The strategy seeks to improve early detection of cancer by introducing or expanding the available screening programmes and putting in place mechanisms and services that are proven to save lives. It seeks to shorten the time taken to diagnose and treat cancer by streamlining the diagnosis and referral systems, the process of care and investing in more cancer treatment equipment as well as cancer specialists and other staff. The strategy also seeks to improve access to cancer drugs and other aspects of care for cancer patients. It is expected to harmonize and coordinate cancer care, national cancer registration, sharing of resources and An Oncology nurse demonstrates how chemotherapy for cancer patients is administered. Advertising Feature 35 MINISTRY OF HEALTH information among health facilities. It will ensure patients and their families have better support and access to quality treatment including palliative care. Lastly, the strategy will enable the country to improve services through education and research in the field of cancer prevention and control ensuring a culture of evidence based practice. This strategy is based on the World Health Organization’s global cancer control strategy. The 10 commandments of cancer prevention By EVANS ONGWAE email@example.com Prevention, it is said, is the best medicine. This applies to cancer as for other diseases. Similarly, early treatment is recommended, and it begins with screening. Men between ages 15 and 35 years are advised to undergo a periodic testicular exam by a doctor and do regular self-exams. All men and women older than 50 years are advised to have regular screening for colon cancer. Men should also make an informed decision about screening for prostate cancer with a digital rectal examination (DRE), prostatic ultrasound or a prostate-specific antigen (P5A) blood test. Women should have regular Pap smears. Also, women should be shown how to do a self breast examination. Doctor should show women this simple technique. If the test yields something suspicious, a breast ultrasound or mammogram may be ordered. Everyone is advised to always be alert for symptoms of cancer. They can refer to a simple guide that the American Cancer Society developed years ago that explains what to look out for. The guide uses the first letters of the word ‘caution’ to explain the symptoms: C is for a Change in bowel or bladder habits A is for A sore that does not heal U represents Unusual bleeding or discharge T stands for Thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere I is for Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing O is for Obvious change in wart or mole N is for a Nagging cough or hoarseness. The 10 Commandments of Cancer Prevention highlighted by Dr. Harvey Simon of Harvard Medical School bears repeating. In February 2011 American Cancer Society estimated that taking some simple measure could prevent about 2.6 million cancer deaths worldwide each year. 1. Avoid tobacco in any form. This includes exposure to secondhand smoke. 2. Eat smart. Eat less saturated fat and red meat, which appear to increase the risk of colon and prostate cancers. Limit your use of charbroiled foods (especially meat) and avoid deep-fried foods, eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 3. Exercise regularly. Physical activity has been linked to a reduced risk of colon cancer; it may even help prevent prostate cancer. Exercise also appears to reduce a women’s risk of breast and possibly reproductive cancers. 4. Stay lean. Obesity increases the risk of many forms of cancer. Calories count; if you need to slim down, take in fewer calories and burn more with exercise. Limit alcohol intake. Excess alcohol increases the risk of cancers of mouth, larynx (voice box), esophagus (food pipe), liver and colon, especially in smokers; it also increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Smoking further increases the risk of many alcoholinduced cancers. 6. Avoid unnecessary exposure to radiation. Get medical imaging studies only when you need them. 7. Avoid exposure to industrial and environmental toxins. These incude asbestos fibers, benzene, aromatic amines and polychlorinated phenols (PCBs). 8. Avoid infections that contribute to cancer. These include Helicobater pylori, the “ulcer bug,” hepatitis viruses, HIV and the human. papillomavirus. 9. Consider taking low-dose aspirin. Men who take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs appear to have a lower risk of colon cancer and possibly prostate cancer. This has not yet been proven, however. 10. Get enough Vitamin D. Many experts now recommend 800 IU, to 1,000 IU a day. Most people don’t need to take a supplement to get that much, so long as they have some sunlight daily. Although protection is far from proven, current evidence suggests that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, colon cancer and other cancers. These lifestyle changes have another cancer-preventing benefit: If you stay healthy, you would not need cancer treatments (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, drugs that suppress the immune system) that ironically can increase the risk of other cancers. And if that is not enough to get you started, remember that the first five commandments will also sharply reduce your risk of heart disease.
February 3rd 2014
February 5th 2014