Every person’s cancer story is unique. However, for those diagonised with cancer, this could mean death due to the high cost of treatment which is beyond the reach of many.
In Zimbabwe there are limited options of conventional cancer treatment modalities.
For instance, radiotherapy is considered the most appropriate treatment modality for cancer patients, yet in Zimbabwe only a fraction is treated due to the high cost.
Radiotherapy costs between US$3 000 and US$4 000 for a whole session.
For patients that require both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, it will be a double blow as chemotherapy costs between US$100 and US$1 000 per cycle depending on the stage at which the cancer is.
A cancer patient may need a minimum of six cycles and these can go up to 12.
To answer to this call, Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited in partnership with Island Hospice will be holding its annual “Power Walk for Cancer” on November 4, 2017.
The five-kilometre walk, whose aim is to raise funds and spread awareness about cancers, is scheduled to start at 6am at Old Hararians Sports Club.
Participants will be asked to pay US$5 registration fee, the proceeds of which will be channelled to Island Hospice, a non-profit organisation offering palliative care for cancer patients.
Zimpapers public relations and corporate affairs manager Ms Beatrice Tonhodzayi said cancers were becoming a threat which the country could not afford to ignore.
“We’ve come to the realisation that we can no longer ignore cancers,” she said. “This is one of the activities in which individuals, corporates, friends and supporters should just come on board and walk against cancer.”
During the Cancer Power Walk, zumba sessions and health checks will be conducted.
Zimpapers is being partnered by Fawcett Security, IPEC, Lafarge, Beta Holdings, Ministry of Health and Child Care, National Aids Council, Embassy of Switzerland and Rock Field Engineering for the “Power Walk”.
Ms Tonhodzayi called on individuals and organisations to partner the country’s largest media and publishing group to raise awareness around all cancers.
“We have lost so many people trying to receive treatment and care out of the country. There is need for us to invest in the systems we have and maintain the infrastructure that is very important for those who cannot afford to look for medication elsewhere,” she added.
“This is what we are doing as Zimpapers. But we know we cannot do it on our own and no contribution is too small, we all can make a difference.”
Besides the high cost of treatment for cancer, patients also face countless challenges that hinder their treatment and well-being.
Says Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (CAZ) monitoring and evaluation officer Mr Lovemore Makurirofa:
“Many people are not open when it comes to issues regarding their health and many-a-time they ignore the early signs of cancer and only visit the hospital when the cancer has reached advanced stages.
“For almost all cancers, it takes about 10 years from its progression to Stage One.
‘‘About 81 percent of all cancers recorded in Zimbabwe are diagnosed at advanced stages.”
The most occurring cancers among Zimbabweans of all races are cervical cancer (18 percent), Kaposi sarcoma (10 percent), breast and prostate cancer (seven percent each), non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-melamona skin cancer (six percent each), oesophagus and colo-rectal cancers (four percent each), eye cancer (three percent) and other cancers accounting to 35 percent of the registered cancers.
Cancer treatment is highly centralised in Zimbabwe, with only two public health centres offering comprehensive treatment and care services.
These are Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare and Mpilo Hospital in Bulawayo.
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