Gauteng MEC Health Mokgethi calls for support of cancer patients

In commemorating World Cancer Day, Gauteng MEC for Health Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi has expressed solidarity with people living with cancer, and has called on society to find creative ways to support cancer patients, whilst observing COVID-19 regulations.

MEC Mokgethi said people living with cancer normally have feelings of anxiety and fear, and the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has added isolation and disruption to their lives.

She said it was important that all those living with cancer have solid support structure around them to see them through their treatment. The World Cancer Day is observed annually on February 4, and this year’s theme is: “#IAmAndIWill. Together all our actions matter”

“Most health care services have been disrupted due to COVID-19 outbreak, this has added more anxiety on those living with cancer. It is for this reason we call upon relatives and caregivers of those who are living with cancer to not only show empathy towards cancer patients, but to ensure that an all round support structure is provided,” said MEC Mokgethi.

Around 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, out of which four million are premature deaths (aged 30 to 69 years). “Support should include ensuring that they take their chronic medication regularly, they collect enough medication to last them for a while, and they adhere to medical check-up and follow-up dates,” added MEC Mokgethi.

The MEC also expressed gratitude to medical and support staff who treat and manage cancer patients. “On this day we also wish to thank all those who work in our oncology departments, nursing staff, including porters who fetch patients from wards to chemotherapy and radiation units. Looking after cancer patients is a team effort. We are grateful for their dedication”, said MEC Mokgethi.

Even though cancers are caused by various factors one third of cancer cases can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle. It is important to note that most cancers are the result of exposure to a
number of different causal factors such as alcohol, being overweight or obese, poor diet and nutrition laden with processed meat and food, and tobacco amongst others.

The public is advised to visit local healthcare facility for regular medical screenings and check-ups. We also call upon people that are taking chronic medication to collect and take their medication regularly to avoid complications and drug resistance.

World Cancer Day is an initiative by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). UICC is the leading international non-governmental organization that unites the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, to promote greater equity, and to integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda.

For media releases, speeches and news visit the Gauteng Department of Health’s portal at www.gauteng.gov.za

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