Stigma is one of the main reasons why cancer patients suffer in silence, say health experts.
In line with this year’s World Cancer Day theme Busting Cancer the Tanyaradzwa Cancer Trust last night held a discussion at Book Café between two oncologists who spoke on the importance of communication.
Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals’ Dr Bernadette Ndoro explains, “Talking about the issue means one has started communicating and when you communicate you let out what you have kept inside which relieves one from stress.”
Dr Ndoro said the cancer diagnosis has been made scary because of the general opinion that once one has cancer they cannot be cured. “Many people think that it’s a death sentence, thus in the end a patient will just choose to keep their diagnosis to themselves,” she said. She added that something can always been done to someone with cancer, either cure or pain relief if it’s in its late stages.
Cervical cancer survivor Talent Yakado, who also works as a waitress at the venue, agreed that there is a general perception that women who suffer from the disease are promiscuous. The second discussant oncologist Dr Anna Mary Nyakabuwa from the Ministry of Education and Child Welfare explained, “The talk of cervical cancer being a result of promiscuity often discourages patients from informing their partners about their diagnosis and in turn suffer in silence.” She said society should start talking about the disease, educating one another so as to dissolve the myths surrounding cancer to avoid its spread and help those in suffering.
Tanyaradzwa Cancer Trust has been holding a series of discussions at Book Café since last year to raise awareness on cervical cancer. Last night they also commemorated World Cancer Day with a performance after the discussion from artists such as afro fusion group Were, Claire Nyakudyara and Selmor Mtukudzi.
Caption: from left, moderator Sally Dura, Dr Nyakabawa and Dr Ndoro during the discussion at the Book Café.