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Cancer Myths Haunting Zimbabweans

Zimbabwe joined the international community in commemorating World Cancer Day as activists work to distigmatize the disease affecting many in the country.

The annual day held Monday focused on cancer stigmitization under the theme “Cancer: Did you know? Dispel damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer.”

Activists said with the many myths and misconceptions about cancer, people end up not getting the necessary treatment due to stigmitization.

The World Health Organization says that cancer, one of the leading causes of death, claims more than 7 million lives annualy worldwide.

Some of the deadliest forms of the desease include breast, cervical, stomach, colon and liver cancer. In Zimbabwe, cervical cancer is the most common, followed by breast cancer.

Tafadzwa Chigariro, knowledge manager of the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe told VOA that the common cancer myths and misconceptions include the notion that everyone who develops cancer will die, receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy will kill the patient, surgery or needle biopsy can disturb cancer cells causing them to spread, cancer is infectious, and the disease cannot be prevented.

Chigariro said people must be well-informed about the disease in order to understand cancer and how its successful treatment can help save lives.

Experts say early diagnosis is the key to surviving cancer, and urge people to get screens or perform home screenings in the cases of breast cancer.