Beating a formidable diseaseHelp cancer patients [Archives:2003/683/Health]

November 6 2003

Yasser Mohammed Al-Mayyasi
Cancer, among the most dangerous diseases in this era, continues to be a particularly difficult disease to treat in poor due to the lack of medical resources and money for treatment.
Most patients need to travel abroad for medication, which is a huge burden for the poor. This applies to Yemen, which has various types, especially cancer of the lymph glands cancer, followed by breast cancer, then mouth and throat cancers.
Yemen’s Ministry of Health has thus set out a national media campaign to support cancer victims, to raise awareness of the problem.
It’s an attempt to aid the citizens who had been unfortunate and who are desperate for any kind of assistance without which they would surrender to the disease awaiting death to befall on them.
Reports from the ministry indicate that of the main reasons for attracting this disease is the chaotic excessive use of agricultural insecticide and chemicals as well as the extreme use of food and products with preserving materials, in addition to use of shisha (water pipe) and cigarettes and shamma. Air pollution also causes infection with this disease from carbon dioxide because of fuel burning and factory waste …etc.
Yet the most dangerous of the mentioned causes is the uncontrolled use of insecticide and farming chemicals, especially the smuggled ones into the country, without supervision. This leads to digestive system cancer that is one of the most dangerous in Yemen where official statistics indicate that 115 patients were reported to have it in 2002. The next highest number was that of lymph cancer where 76 cases were reported in the same year.

Patients’ misery:
Other then the pain and suffering, there is the high cost of medication, that is if it was available in the first place. Where the default is that it is not available and hence patients either travel abroad or forget about getting cured completely, because the medication is a continuous one that requires regular check ups and treatments. And medication requires that certain medical tools perform the task of spreading the medication all over the body, and these tools and quite expensive.
And if the patient was fortunate to be able to go abroad for medication then the traveling, accommodation and medical costs turn this process into a nightmare, causing depression, especially when a person is far away from his home and family.
However, in the last few years a Tumor and Chemical Treatment Unit was established in al-Jumhori Hospital and this has helped a lot of people.
Between 8th August 2001 and 11th March 2003, this unit had received 2,590 cases with an average of 215 patient each month. But the unit alone is not enough and so the Ministry of Health sees that charitable and organizational support is one of the assisting remedies that will help deal with this disease and provide medication for needy patients.
The spread of awareness among the society through all media is also essential so that the society realizes the dangers of practices that lead to cancer. Also medical and health awareness that encourages people to check themselves regularly in order to identify the disease in its earlier stages. Establishing medical centers for specialized treatment is also another way in supporting the unit.
The national campaign for combating cancer by the ministry of health should be appreciated and supported by individuals and organizations. Because this is a noble cause and it could help all the unfortunate patients.