Cancer Association to take a more holistic approach to the treatment of cancer
This June is men’s health awareness month and the Cancer Association of Namibia will be putting the holistic health of the nation at the forefront, because they can no longer detach one from the other, said Cancer Association CEO, Rolf Hansen.
“A healthy body houses a healthy mind, this is placed under the lens when we consider that a healthy mind and healthy body must go hand in hand to support a healthy human being,” added Hansen.
Medical studies have shown that continuous emotional and negative stress severely influences and compromises the immune system. Therefore the bigger picture must be seen, to address health issues, while hereditary and generic factors influencing cancer are noted, these only contribute to 5%-10% of all cancer cases, whereas the remaining 90%-95% have their roots in the environment and lifestyle. The important lifestyle factors that affect the incidence and mortality of cancer include tobacco, alcohol, diet, obesity, infectious agents, environmental pollutants and radiation. These elements are linked to other severe and life-threatening diseases, and mental health is intertwined therein too.
The new John Hopkins University research study supporting mental health suggested that people with serious mental illness, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and disabling depression are 2.6 times more likely to develop cancer than the general population. This while a cancer diagnosis can also affect the emotional health of patients, families and caregivers. The common feeling during this life-changing experience include anxiety, distress and depression, roles at home, school and work can be affected, therefore it is important to recognize these changes and get help when needed.
Hansen said it is therefore imperative that healthcare, spanning all diseases, includes a holistic body approach, and mind and should be addressed to build a healthier nation.
The Association hosts regular men’s health clinics for the prevention of cancer and also has a telephonic and in-house information and support programme called the Standard Circle of Hope.