The deadly disease need not be a death sentence anymore
Statistics show Cancer is on the rise, especially breast, cervical, colon and prostrate. Various factors have been attributed to the causes. Most research suggests that the changes in our environment, food habits, and lifestyle play a large part.
On the bright side, more preventative measures, faster detection, better treatments are also available today, and having cancer is not a ‘death sentence’. Patients are cured and go on to live a long and healthy life.
Sadly, Uganda, at present, does not have many options for treatments. People have to travel abroad for treatment and that can be very expensive, also emotionally and physically traumatic.
It has been observed that patients who survive and do well are those who have had family and peer support, have made positive lifestyle changes (i.E: diet, more exercise, less stress), taken complimentary therapies and joined support groups.
There are a number of things that one can do:
- Do not be embarrassed to ask your doctor questions and learn all the pros and cons of the treatment that you will choose to undergo.
- Do not hesitate to call upon good friends and family members for moral and physical support. Very often, they do not know how to react. Sit down with your partner and family to discuss what will happen to you during and after the treatment and how you may need them. Consult a good nutritionist.
- Do not Google or go by what people say. You are an individual, whose needs have to be customised.
- Join a support group. There are a few in Kampala.
Complementary therapies help you accept, relax, rejuvenate and recover faster. In many places abroad, complimentary therapy is offered to recovering patients and there are volunteers who offer their services free of charge in hospices. Research shows that patients in UK, Ireland and South Africa, who took therapies such as Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Crystal Healing, Energy Medicine, did better. Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Crystal Healing, Reiki are available in Kampala.
Your therapist will know what treatment to give you. For example, in Aromatherapy, essential oils are used to give a gentle lymph drainage massage, especially after breast cancer treatment. All essential oils are antibacterial; some are sedative, detoxifying, relaxing and rejuvenating. Similarly, reflexology also helps you to recover faster by relaxing and rejuvenating you. It not only acts on you at a physical level, but also emotional and spiritual level.
In Kampala, very good palliative care is available. Attached to the Hospice Africa Uganda, is the only school in Africa giving a degree course in palliative care studies and students from all over Africa come to pursue degree and diploma courses.
Bless a Child Foundation has a Hospice Home Africa, where children from all over Uganda come for treatment and are looked after lovingly.
Palliative Care Uganda has fought hard to make the government address the issue and make positive policies.
A positive attitude can render Cancer negative.
Usha Panji is a clinical nutritionist and complementary therapist. She can be contacted at Avane Cosmetic Clinique & MediSpa