We should always talk about cancer, it is a silent pandemic

09Apr 2022
The Guardian
We should always talk about cancer, it is a silent pandemic

​​​​​​​WOES of people falling to cancer developments in the body and being diagnosed late, thus being incapable of being put to any effective treatment, are being raised every other month or so.

One such occasion presented itself lately, where it was said that most cancer cases in Tanzania are diagnosed at advanced stages, leading to deaths that could have been prevented through early identification and treatment. It is hard to say where the fault lies, but basically the reason is that cancer is at first painless.

Cancer is like a snake that creeps into a house, where most of the usual precautions can’t work as it doesn’t need an open door to pass through. A top health ministry official said that 40,000 new cancer cases are reported annually and 30 per cent of the patients die on account of delays in diagnosis. He also made reference to ‘misdiagnosis’ that is conducted at first, treating minor ailments as if that was all there was to the potential cancer patient. At times medical practitioners go as far as the patient or the persons taking care of the patient wish to go, making a diagnosis and a prescription as if playing for time, etc.

Part of the reason is psychological, as in HIV diagnosis, that if a patient isn’t ready to face that sort of reality, isn’t intimating or visiting a medical facility specifically for that purpose, medical personnel aren’t always inclined to force the pace. The person will be diagnoses with malaria or other ailment, which looks routine and curable, until some other disturbances start, and the patient is prepared to go deeper into the problem. It isn’t easy for many people to live with shocking information of being HIV positive, or having a well developed cancer in any of their organs, though cancer noticeably lacks a sense of shame.

With nearly everything that needs to be said on how cancer is progressing in the society having been noted and propagated for all to hear, medical practitioners were lately perched on a technical matter, focused on research and training, on how to build a bridge towards quality care for blood cancer patients. There are some advanced treatments that have started being administered or tried in the past year especially for sickle cell disease, a kind of blood cancer that tortures individuals from infancy, and in many cases cuts short their life span. Varied cures have been developed, with genetic correction research coming up in various countries. The big issue is behaviour generated cancers, from living styles, chiefly.

It is in this sphere where most of the advice is regularly administered, the trouble being that the body is tailored for one thing mentally and another thing, physically. Mentally it prefers sweet things and comfort, and living on that basis infuses dignity into life. The physical consequences come much later, where no treatment is practicable at once; the body is already tuned to harming itself, almost deliberately