ONGWEDIVA – The Medipark Private Hospital in Ongwediva hosted its second annual breast and cervical cancer awareness campaign on Saturday.
The event that attracted a wide spectrum of people reminded Namibians of the harsh nature and reality of the terrible illness.
In Namibia, the figures are alarming with an average of 130 women diagnosed with cervical cancer yearly while 59 die from the disease.
Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) indicate that breast cancer statistics have been on the rise since 2006 with a total of 1625 cases detected to date.
The number of cases in 2006 doubled from 229 to 458 in 2012.
So far cervical cancer ranks the second most frequent cancer among women in Namibia and the third most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age, while breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and leading cause of cancer related deaths in women.
One in eight women are victims of breast cancer.
Speaking at the event the First Lady who is also the Chairperson of the Forum of the African First Ladies against Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer, Madam Penehupifo Pohamba, encouraged women to go for regular screening and to exercise regularly in order to beat both cervical and breast cancer.
“Regular screening for early detection and treatment can help to prevent loss of the precious lives of Namibian women,” stated Pohamba.
In the same spirit Pohamba called on the need to educate women on the risk factors that may increase the chances of getting cervical cancer such as smoking, multiple childbirths, prolonged use of birth control pills and HIV/AIDS.
“There is a link between HIV/AIDS and cancer especially cervical cancer. It is evident that HIV-positive women are more prone to cervical cancer than their HIV-negative counterparts,” noted the First Lady.
Pohamba said protective measures towards a healthy lifestyle includes practice of breastfeeding, regular physical exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, not smoking, a balanced diet and overall healthy living.
Pohamba also shared that 5 000 girls will benefit from the human papilloma virus (PHV) vaccine as pledged by the US-based Red Ribbon Pink Ribbon.
So far nurses and doctors have also received training facilitated by Red Ribbon Pink Ribbon.
Also speaking at the event the Governor of Oshana Region Clemens Kashuupulwa said he was dissatisfied with the number of men who attended the event.
He urged men to partake in such noble events so that collectively cancer can be defeated.