Nam records over 500 cases of breast cancer in a year

• By Tracy Tafirenyika

NAMIBIA recorded a shocking number of 553 breast cancer cases in 2021, with 79 cases of lung cancer also recorded in the same period, Confidente has established.

Statistics provided by the Cancer Association of Namibia show that most of the causes are smoking, exposure to hazardous chemicals, family history, and obesity mainly targeting people who are at the age of 55 and above.

Cancer registrar, patient support and youth engagement officer Tareekuje (Kushi) Tjiriange said:

“The causes of breast cancers are yet to be fully discovered, but there are factors that play a role in leading up to the diagnosis. Fifty-five or older increases the risk for breast cancer; alcohol use; if you have parents, siblings or family members diagnosed, you have chance of developing breast cancer too. Tobacco use is linked to many different types of cancers too.

“We have all been educated of cancer and the effect it has on the patients and families. It is time we became aware of its presence in our lives. The time to take action in regards to our health was yesterday,” he stated.

He further elaborated that his organisation has a patient financial assistance programme “aimed to help diagnosed, economically less fortunate patients with the bare necessities. Ranging from transport costs to treatment facilities, toiletries and whenever resources are available, food parcels as well.”

He said patients on the programme receive a monthly stipend of N$750 for three months or for as long as need be.

“A lot of our patients have shown so much gratitude in respect to the programme.  We, however, believe more can be done in terms of accumulating funds and sponsors to better the quality and value of assistance we provide to our patients. It all boils down to the community and corporates at large.

“With modern day technology, breast examination is quick and effective. We implore women to keep a lookout on our social media pages on tutorials on how to perform a breast self-examination. In the same breath, we ask the men to keep a look out on any hard lumps around their chest areas as well.

“As a community member, you might not be affected by cancer, but a simple share and like of information with your close ones could be the difference to the next person’s survival story. If detected early, treatment and survival rates are successful. Don’t hesitate to see a doctor if any abnormalities are detected.”