World Cancer day 2022 – Close the care gap
The theme for World cancer day 2022 to 2024 is “Close the care gap”. Why is there a need to close the care gap? According to The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), “the campaign theme is all about improving access to quality cancer care for everyone – no matter who they are or where they live”. A huge cancer care gap exists in most parts of the world. This gap limits accessibility to cancer treatment and care leading to higher data rates from cancer-related complications.
The care gap exists in many forms. Some people lack access to quality cancer medical care and facilities, for some, there is no money to access the needed cancer healthcare where it is available. For others, they fight their cancer battles alone with little or no moral support. There is also the gap of inadequate/lack of information.
The location also poses a care gap in cancer care as people in developing countries and rural areas have a harder time accessing quality healthcare.
Dr. Omolola Salako a Clinical oncologist, Founder, and Executive Director of the Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre asserts that the ratio of a clinical oncologist to new cancer patients in Nigeria is 1 to 1,250 compared to 1 to 137 in the US. This situation is direr because these few oncologists in Nigeria reside mostly in the cities.
How can you and I close the care gap?
There is little that each of us can do in our little ways. For one, if you know someone suffering from cancer, show them MAXIMUM support and care for the burden they bear is a heavy one. There was once a story about this friend to a cancer patient. The cancer patient had to shave off the remainder of her hair when the hair loss from chemotherapy became worse. Her friend stood by her to the point of also going bald for her friend’s sake. This gesture may not cure cancer, but it will surely boost the morale of that cancer patient to keep fighting.
One can also offer financial support. A lot of people do not have access to cancer screening and treatments because they are not financially buoyant. We see some individuals and NGOs undertaking free cancer screening exercises. This is a great way to close the care gap.
Have you ever gone for any cancer screening, like ever?
If you have never been screened for any type of cancer, then please do so, especially if you are above 30 or have a family history of cancer. This is the best way to personalize the ‘close the care gap’ theme. Cancer is best handled with early detection.
Technology cannot be left out in this journey to close the gap. In Nigeria, digital technology is gradually being employed in cancer treatment and care. Such innovations include the oncopadi and notitia. More of such innovations could be pivotal in changing the cancer narrative.
Possible cancer treatment options
Cancer can be prevented to a large extent. In some cases, especially when there is early detection, cancer can equally be treated.
Some cancer treatment options are –
- Hormone therapy
- Radiation therapy
- Stem cell transplant.
Cancer screening centers are not as common as they should be and this presents another care gap. We advise that you visit Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching hospital Nnewi if you are in the Southeast, to get most of your cancer screenings done. Check this link for other cancer screening centers in Nigeria.
If you know of any other certified cancer screening centers within Anambra state and the South East, please share in the comment section.
How you can reduce the risk of cancer
Paxs Pharmacy uses this World Cancer Day to remind individuals to do everything within their powers to reduce their cancer risk and take action, beginning with these recommendations:
1. Make time for exercise – 30 minutes is all you need. We suggest that you start simply, maybe with a 30-minute walk, five days per week. Stretch, move around, or even dance in between your sedentary job. These efforts can make a statistical difference.
2. Maintain a healthy weight. Cancer of the breast, bowel, pancreas, esophagus, gall bladder, kidney, and female reproductive organs have all been linked to obesity. To make things easier for you, Paxs Pharmacy offers BMI calculations to quickly assess your weight and offer practical advice on how to attain or maintain a healthy weight.
3. No smoking. Ever. The use of tobacco products is the single biggest risk factor for lung cancer and has been linked to other types of cancer as well. This also applies to alternative tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, which health officials warn may cause health problems, including cancer, due to the nicotine and chemicals they contain.
4. Get regular cancer screenings. While screening cannot reduce the risk of cancer, early detection increases the chances of successful treatment. Women should follow current screening guidelines for early detection of the breast and uterus. Men should do the same for prostate cancer.
5. Consider immunization against certain diseases. Cancer prevention includes protection from certain viral infections. Consider talking with your doctor/pharmacist about getting immunized against hepatitis B, and the human papillomavirus, or HPV.
Together, we can help reduce this cancer menace in our society by joining the campaign to close the care gap. Until we achieve health equity, cancer and other diseases will continue to torment mankind irrespective of where you reside or your race.
HAPPY WORLD CANCER DAY FROM PAXS PHARMACY