Students urged to prioritise check-ups

Mashudu Mambo | Sunday News
UNIVERSITY students have been urged to constantly check their health to reduce the risk of suffering from diseases such as breast cancer as they can be treated if detected early.

Speaking during a breast cancer awareness campaign at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) American Space on Friday, United Bulawayo Hospitals gynaecologist Dr Taurai Gunguwo urged students to take their health seriously by constantly checking and going for cancer screening.

“Breast cancer is very rare before the age of 40, making it risky to those over 40. One can detect cancer by feeling their breasts for lumps and cancer screening is for free at UBH,” he said.

“… there is a need for hospitals to train nurses and doctors to interact with their patients so as to fully understand their problems…”

Dr Gunguwo said cancer is caused by cells that can grow fast and sometimes the body can fail to control those cells resulting in breast cancer, especially among pregnant women or women who breast feed.

“The number one cause of breast cancer are genes which you are born with that expose you to cancer.The risk factors of breast cancer include age, family history, obesity, heavy consumption of alcohol and smoking,” he said.

“Most of the cancers in urban areas are rare in rural areas because of the food that those people eat, therefore reducing the risk of breast cancer among those in rural areas.”

Dr Gunguwo said chemotherapy could be used at any stage and breast cancer should be treated at stage one.

“The myth that when people come for chemotherapy worsens the condition of the patient depends on the stage of the cancer for example if breast cancer is at stage one there are 100 percent chances for survival because we can either remove the lump or the breast and you would have a five-year survival period.

“At stage four it is the palliative stage and at this stage it is when we have accepted that you will die and all we will be doing is to improve your life for the few months or years that will be left for you to live,” he said.

Dr Gunguwo said there was a need for the hospitals to train nurses and doctors to have some time to interact with their patients so as to fully understand their problems.

“I believe our hospitals must be like the ones in Europe where most exams for doctors are about interactions with the patients and information on breast cancer. We are now teaching doctors to interact with the patients and we should learn from other countries,” he said.

The discussion was part of Campus Conversations which are a series of panel discussions which bring together college students and experts to discuss various issues that affect young people. The interactive sessions are meant to engage students and foster a culture of healthy sexual behaviour and attitudes.

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