The worsening cancer burden ravaging local communities

The worsening cancer burden ravaging local communities

Cancer remains one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide, with projections of marked increases in new cases of cancer and a very number of deaths that are directly attributable to the disease over the coming years leading up to 2030.

It is predicted that by then there will have been a progressively increased burden of cancer in the world, but manifesting at a much higher rate in developing counties.

This reflects a transition which has already emerged, characterised by developing countries now beginning to carry a bigger slice of a non communicable disease burden, which was previously seen as the preserve of the industrialized world.

So as it is, the developing world is increasingly seeing a higher incidence of the type of cancers which are associated with preventable lifestyle risks such as poor dietary intake, smoking, alcohol, lack of exercise and an exposure to industrial carcinogens, even though it is still bearing the brunt of the many cancers that are directly attributable to infectious diseases.

“Such ground level disparities in cancer risk coupled with inadequate data around the patterns of disease and indeed with not much clarity around cancer causation, nor there being enough research done on the subject matter against the background of an existing poor access to cancer control and relevant therapies, have all seemed to be the main contributory factors behind the poor cancer survival rates encountered in communities such as Soweto.” Dr Molefi Molefi, founder of Journeysys

Compounding the situation on the local front is a revelation that there may be more people living with cancer locally as it is elsewhere in the world because of increased aging, improved cancer detection methods and an increased availability of more effective cancer therapies.

These trends have been felt both regionally and afar, manifesting both marginally and severely at individual, community and systems level, and in the process provoking a series of corrective responses, which may include increased awareness raising, better screening and earlier detection, inculcating a culture of shared decision making in a doctor to patient consultation, strengthening cancer surveillance and improving access to cancer care facilities.

But compounds this unpalatable situation even further and may worsen the existing cancer burden to astronomical proportions is provider shortages, the high costs of treatment and the existence of high barriers to cancer care financing.

This has opened opportunities for alternative non-mainstream players such as civil society entities like Journeysys who come directly from offsite but may be better primed to mobilize a wider range of affected parties, and better equipped to redress some of the inherent challenges linked to a broader array of involved stakeholders.

The Journeysys offering comprises of a serious of programs catering for direct to consumer cancer screening and survivor support interventions, stakeholder mobilization and outreach where appropriate, both locally and onto outer frontiers.

Journeysys has conceptualized what it terms ‘cancer awareness open days’, for activation purposes and to sensitise the general public to a wide range of cancer causing societal ills. To find out more about upcoming events which include debates with experts on a wide range of cancer related topics, contact Dr Molefi, Director, 082 901 5752.

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