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What Cancer Patients Need

What needs to be done.

BY Beryl Karimi-La Patrona

Jan 20, 2023, 02:51 PM

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Cancer is slowly becoming a fact of life and yet it's an illness that is often mismanaged and underfunded. In Kenya for example, most patients have to travel to Nairobi for treatment, and they always have to camp there for months getting treatment. For a country that has 47 counties, this is wrong. People should be able to access medical services within their vicinity and homes.

Here I compiled a list of the things that need to be done systematically to help cancer patients navigate the illness more efficiently. 

A Working Healthcare System

This should go without paying. We are overly taxed and there should be something to show for it.

When the veteran Kenyan Journalist, Catherine Kasavuli died she left a hospital bill of up to four million Kenyan shillings. Kenyans on social media took it upon themselves to fundraise and it still took a presidential pardon for her body to be released from the hospital.

The presidential pardon happened because of her prominence but this is not a privilege that is afforded to the rest of the citizens.

In my life, I have contributed to several fundraisers to help sick people get treatment for diseases that are costly to treat such as cancer. You can't help but wonder where the government is usually at during these situations.

We pay taxes diligently, meaning the government should assure its citizens of treatment. Our initiatives such as fundraising cannot get us out of systematic failures that are a result of corruption and bad governance. 

A Supportive Spouse

According to an article by the Guardian, a study from 2009 found the strongest predictor for separation or divorce for patients with brain cancer was whether or not the sick person was a woman. That same study showed that men were seven times more likely to leave their partner than the other way around if one of them got brain cancer.

When a person gets diagnosed with a disease that is as fatal as cancer they should never have to go through the turmoil of signing a divorce and the grief that comes with the end of a marriage. They should have a supportive spouse holding their hand along the way.

This is not to say that people should stay in situations that make them unhappy, it is to say that sickness is a reality of life and if as a person you know you can never be there for your spouse in sickness and health as you all usually promise when saying your vows then you have no business getting married.

Marriage comes with its tragedies that you must be ready to wade through before committing to someone. 

Jobs That Value Humanity Over Profits

Job loss is usually devastating at any point in one's life and even more devastating when the person getting laid off is battling cancer.

In a capitalistic world driven by targets and profits, losing a job is a regular occurrence for cancer patients and it should not be that way. I do not know when we decided that human beings are disposable. This is something that needs to change in the workplace.

When someone has worked and made money diligently they deserve the dignity to retain their jobs even in sickness and employers' kindness. Cancer treatment costs too much money and taking away someone's livelihood and insurance when they have hospital bills to pay is cruelty that should not be condoned.

Emotional Support 

Even though there have been several medical breakthroughs that have made cancer a manageable illness and one that you can survive, it is still a death sentence for many people.

Some cancers are too fatal and others are discovered when they are already advanced.

Some eventualities in life are easy to accept, but death isn't one of them. People diagnosed with cancer often fall into depression and to optimise their quality of life they deserve to have complete emotional support.

This emotional support looks like having your family and friends but that isn't enough. The government also needs to ensure enough psychological support for hospital patients battling cancer. Therapy is also a huge part of healthcare and should never be overlooked.

Read More: Cervical Cancer And The Tragedies It Brings