Cancer: The Hidden International Development Issue
The 4th of February is World Cancer Day.
Many of us have interacted with this aggressive disease, and have loved ones who have faced it, but did you know that 70% of all deaths from cancer occur in low to middle income countries? Cancer is a serious killer in vulnerable communities, so much so that by 2030, deaths from non-communicable diseases such as cancer in Africa are expected to exceed deaths from communicable, perinatal and nutritional diseases combined. On World Cancer Day, Thare Machi Education is hoping to increase awareness of the prevalence of cancer in poorer communities around the world, and to highlight how we are working to help people protect themselves from the life-changing disease.
Although cancer is becoming an increasingly common disease, more than 30% of cancer cases are in fact preventable. Cancer treatment is incredibly expensive and often inaccessible in developing countries, and so TME works with local partners to promote positive health behaviours, in order to prevent cancers from forming in the first place.
TME support communities to work towards Sustainable Development Goal 3, ‘Good health and wellbeing‘, using our DVD lessons to empower them with knowledge of how to prevent non communicable diseases like cancer.
There are several key risk factors that people have control over:
- Being overweight or obese
- Diet and nutrition – Experts suggest that diets and nutritional intake, particularly diets high in red meats, processed meats, salted foods and low in fruits and vegetables have an impact on cancer risks.
- Physical activity – regular physical activity not only helps to reduce excess body fat and the cancer risks associated with this, but being physically active can help to reduce the risks of developing colon, breast and endometrial cancers.
- Infection – Around 70% of cervical cancers are caused by Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections, while liver cancer and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma can be caused by the Hepatitis B and C virus. Suffering from immunodeficiency viruses such as HIV/AIDs also increases the risk of getting cancer.
Many communities are simply unaware that smoking tobacco, drinking too much alcohol, engaging in unsafe sex and eating food that isn’t nutritious can be dangerous for your health. Without the right information, it can be difficult to see the link between cancer later in life, and the drinking or smoking somebody did 20 years previously. TME’s lessons, ‘Dangers of Alcohol’ and ‘Dangers of Smoking‘ provide simple, factual information on how smoking and drinking too much can affect your health. Our ‘Healthy Eating’ lesson covers the different food groups and how each one can provide the body with nutrients in order to keep it strong and protected, and advises which foods to avoid, such as sweets and fizzy drinks, to help maintain a healthy weight. TME’s ‘Safer Sex For Teenagers’ lesson encourages sexual partners to use protection to prevent the spread of HIV and HPV. Our lessons are neutral and non-judgemental; we provide the facts so that people can make informed, empowered choices in their lives.
Each of TME’s DVD lessons costs just £3.50 to produce, and can reach hundreds of people with the information to prevent against non-communicable diseases.