Cancer: Spotlight on preventable premature deaths
March 19, 2016
Cancer: Spotlight on preventable premature deaths was the Cape Argus headline on Tuesday 10th February 2015 in an article by Dr HC Volmink. The article reported that “almost one in every five South Africans is at risk of developing cancer before the age of 75. Anyone whose life has been affected by cancer, either directly or through illness of a loved one, can testify to the devastating nature of the disease.”
“However, much can, and has been done to prevent and treat cancer”. The National Department of Health has responded by developing the Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases which outlines a roadmap for the 5 year period from 2013-2017. This plan provides a framework for the implementation of behavioural risk factor prevention initiatives. Such initiatives aim to support community-based screening, self-management, and improved referral systems for adequate and relevant patient care.
Tobacco use is identified as a risk factor in six of eight of the leading causes of death in the world. It follows then that many could and should enjoy the benefits of stopping smoking. Dr Volmink laments that “While helping people to stop smoking is critical in the prevention of cancer many South Africans simply don’t have access to smoking cessation services” and stated that it should be a priority to ensure that interventions such as providing nicotine replacement therapy in conjunction with individual or group counselling be made available.
GoSmokeFree stop smoking programme, is an intervention that provides counselling, behaviour change support and nicotine replacement therapy (or other stop smoking products). It offers one of the best ways to quit smoking and provides convenient access, to professional care at local community pharmacies, for the much needed smoking cessation services identified in the report.
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