The government has been encouraged to focus more on cancer diseases, as the health of Batswana are in a critical state. Speaking during the commemoration of World Cancer Day on Friday, (Feb 6), Dr Karl Seligmann said Botswana like many developing countries needs to restructure its health policies to ensure that the demands of the rising incidence of non-communicable disease are adequately met.

He said in as much as HIV/AIDS was given urgency, cancer diseases should be treated the same. He added cancer has more than 200 types, each with different causes, symptoms and treatments. Dr Seligmann said cancer was a phenomenon that was overwhelming the universal community and affecting people either way including physically, emotionally, psychologically, economically and spiritually.

He said around the world, the morbidity and mortality of cancer was on the rise and therefore called for partnership for the well-being of cancer patients. Dr Seligmann said there were better proactive approaches to fight against cancer, betterment of cancer care, management and control. However, he called on the nation at large not to overlook the bare necessities of survival.

He said people had a tendency of taking for granted advice from the health personnel and the media. He stressed that people should choose a healthy life through diet, exercise and avoid tobacco use and excessive alcohol intake. He also cautioned people against eating red and processed meat and salt, saying they were linked to cancer cases. He urged people to visit health facilities for screening and early detection for cancer.

For her part, a cancer survivor Ms Onneetse Isaiah said she was diagnosed with cancer at a tender age of 10. She said it started as a small sore behind her knee, until her leg was amputated. Ms Isaiah said she was being counted among the people living with disabilities yet she was not born that way. She encouraged other cancer patients not to lose heart but get inspired to know that eventually they would beat the disease through determination.

“There is a precious life after cancer,” she said and encouraged other cancer patients not to give up on life.

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