First Lady launches media campaign on cancer

13 May 2014 17:00pm
By Joseph Nekaya
WINDHOEK, 13 MAY (NAMPA) - First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba on Tuesday launched a media campaign towards disseminating information about cancer.
The campaign commenced during the launch, and will end after the 8th ‘Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa’ conference, scheduled to take place here from 20 to 22 July 2014.
In her keynote address at the Windhoek Central Hospital, Pohamba said there are many myths surrounding cancer with respect to causes and associated factors.
Breast cancer is the commonest cancer affecting women, followed by cervical cancer as well as prostate cancer in men.
“Therefore, I would like to request each of the media houses represented here today to ensure that every week in your newspapers, radio and television (stations), there is at least a sentence or a phrase talking about any type of cancer,” she urged.
Pohamba added that when they talk about cancer awareness-raising, they are talking about sharing the correct facts about cancer and the strategies available for prevention, treatment and protection.
“It was discovered that people do not go for screening for early detection because they lack information on these cancers, and some are afraid of the results due to the stigma associated with the cancers,” she said, adding that others have indicated financial and transport problems as well as a feeling of hopelessness.
The First Lady said some of the reasons given for not going for early screening are purely an indication of the lack of accurate and correct information, and a lack of awareness and understanding of the importance of seeking help early.
“Ignorance and a tendency of playing down the screening services have become a big challenge because in most cases, there are no symptoms to worry about,” she continued.
Citing a study done in this country, Pohamba said 80 per cent of cancer patients were discovered late when there was not much to be done to save their lives.
Pohamba, who is also a patron of the Maternal and Child Health National Agenda, assured the gathering that most of these cancers are preventable, and in some cases curable if detected early.
“I am, therefore, grateful that we are launching this media campaign about these cancers so that we can tackle them, prevent unnecessary suffering and save more lives.
We should give accurate information regarding the importance of screening services, prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and care of all these types of cancers, and create more awareness amongst our people to take care of themselves and to seek healthcare services on time,” she reiterated.
The event was also attended by some Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Namibia.