FIRST Lady Esther Lungu says there is need for concerted efforts in the fight against breast and cervical cancers.
Esther, who was speaking during a private sector stakeholders breast and cervical cancer workshop in Lusaka, pledged her support to ending the disease.
“With cancer on the rise in Zambia, we must work together to mount a stronger and more effective response. We all want to accelerate the achievement of the best possible outcomes across the cancer continuum for all. The government, private sector and civil society organisations must strive to conquer cancer collaboratively. It is my sincere hope that this meeting will offer exceptional cancer control investment opportunities for public, private and civil society partnerships by leveraging the resources, skills, expertise and experiences that each group brings to the table,” she said.
“I make my own pledge to you all today to work with my first lady partners in this network to both share our national successes in addressing women’s cancers in Zambia and also ideas to further our cause here.”
And Demmy Lubinga, a breast cancer survivor, said there was need for more cancer facilities around the country to help women in need.
She said unlike now, the time she had been diagnosed with the disease, there was no cancer hospital in the country.
“Unfortunately, at that time, we did not have the Cancer Diseases Hospital so the diagnosis of breast cancer brought a lot of frustrations, confusion and part of the frustration was looking for a hospital outside the country to seek treatment,” she said.
“What I found out is that you need to have a very good support system for you to survive cancer. Part of my support system was my family.”
Lubinga advised men to get checked too because they were equally prone to breast cancer.
“We have about one per cent breast cancer patients being men so please men, also check your breasts. …my desire is to see more centres across the country so that women don’t have to travel long distances across the country to come and seek treatment,” said Lubinga.
According to the 2018 global cancer report, the most frequent cancers in Zambia are cervical cancer with 3,000 new cases, breast cancer with 900 new cases and prostate cancer with 1,200 new cases annually.