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Minister urges regular cancer screening


Limpho Sello

HEALTH Minister Dr Molotsi Monyamane has urged Basotho to go for regular cancer screening to aid early detection and reduce the financial burden of the disease in the country.

Addressing a press conference to mark World Cancer Day on Thursday, Dr Monyamane said preventing the terminal disease required a proactive approach. World Cancer Day is an international day marked on 4 February to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.

The day was commemorated under the theme “We can. I can.”, which explores how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.

Dr Monyamane said although the ministry did not mark the day with a special ceremony, it was still important to appeal to the public to take preventative measures against the disease.

He said the government had made strides in the fight against cancer by vaccinating girls aged between nine to 13 years against cervical cancer and introducing pap smear exams for women.

“I am certain that we can have a cancer-free population if Basotho go and get screened for cancer and follow a healthy eating plan,” Dr Monyamane said.
“A cancer-free generation can be achieved without costing a fortune. However, if we wait for the disease to worsen, we end up spending a lot of money to remove it from the body.

“I want to urge the public to stop using drugs. They must eat healthily and exercise frequently regardless of age because cancer does not discriminate.”

On his part the ministry’s Non-Communicable Disease Manager, Dr Kabelo Mputsoe, said cancer was costing the government millions of maloti because local health facilities did not provide chemo and radiotherapy.

“Cancer patients are referred to Bloemfontein for treatment. We use millions of maloti for people to be treated in Bloemfontein, but in most cases this is preventable,” Dr Mputsoe said.

“Since 2012, the government has paid about M82 million for about 3 200 patients who were referred to Bloemfontein. Cases of breast and cervical cancer are still rising, and the ministry is working hard to mitigate the pandemic.”

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