October was a cancer awareness month. I wish to share my thoughts with you about this MONSTER. I call it MONSTER because recently we’ve heard many cases of cancer in Turkana and before you know it, the affected person is gone; gone from us forever. It doesn’t spare any person, young or adult, rich or poor.
Anyone and everyone can potentially get it and it affects the family, friends, colleagues and the loved ones. So you think HIV is deadlier than cancer? Thank God with recent advancement in developing anti-retroviral, AIDS has drugs that can prolong your life just like any other normal person if the infected person complies with the medication and listens to what his healthcare provider tells them about the disease. But again AIDS has no cure. Neither does ‘BAD’ cancer. I’ll later on explain what BAD cancer is.
Cancer has been there all along. It is a global ailment. The few years I’ve been training in the medical field, I have encountered patients with cancer each day. And many people are being diagnosed day in day out with this same MONSTER. In Turkana, cancer is called ‘amoding’. See, even our forefathers knew such thing exists only that they couldn’t fathom it.
So what’s Cancer? Cancer is a disease in which the cells in the body grow abnormally. When cells in our body grow abnormally and fast, Cancer happens. Any part of our body can develop cancer; from the ears, skin, bones, breast, stomach, brain, liver, intestines, colon, name it all, including the mouth, and tongue. When cancer occurs, that body part stops functioning normally and disease happens.
There is GOOD and BAD cancer. GOOD cancer is the one that can be treated when it develops. Usually your doctor can tell that the type of cancer you have is good and recommend for that affected part to be removed before it spreads to other parts of the body or treat it otherwise. An example, is benign Lipoma which is an abnormal fat deposit in that part of the body and can be removed by a minor surgery. The BAD cancer just like it sounds is real bad news. This type of cancer spreads very fast to your brain, bones, liver, breast, spine and bone marrow and before you know it, the person is gone; gone forever. When this BAD cancer is recognized before it spreads, it may be treated. That’s why it’s usually advisable to go for screening once in a while like once in a year just for safety precautions.
Cancer is not only deadly, it also drains the family of its finances. The procedures and chemotherapy are expensive not to mention the surgeries that the patient goes through. Let’s come as a society and help such people, support them throughout the journey because these are our brothers and sisters. When one gets BAD cancer, they usually have a few years to live. Some have less than 5 or 3 or 1 year or even less than 6 months depending with how far it has spread. Cancer is a KILLER. The commonest types of cancers in women are breast and cervical. The commonest in male is oesophagus, prostate and karposi sarcoma cancers.
So what measures can we take to curb cancer? Regular screening, exercise, eating healthy organic foods (greens, greens, greens, whole grains), reduce alcohol and fat intake, don’t drink polluted water especially industrial and factory polluted water, drink plenty of fresh water, avoid unnecessary radiological procedures, and pay attention to pain. Make sure you see your doctor if any sort of pain. Some cancers are familial and affect close relatives of the person who initially had it. This is because some cancers are genetic and the genes are passed from one generation to the next generation in that family. This close family members should go for regular screening for that type of cancer in that family for precautions.
In conclusion, let us support persons living with cancer in one way or another. Either financially, moral support, socially, and in any other small ways. Cancer is KILLER and let us take it seriously. To the county government, let’s allocate specific funds to support cancer patients in our hospitals and also get oncologists (doctors trained to treat and take care of cancer patients). Together, Let us fight cancer.