Radiography students reach out

29 October 2021 | Health

Windhoek • Margareth-Rose Kangootui

Every year in October, students from the School of Allied Health organise awareness activities to educate the public about breast cancer. This year, a practice group of radiography students took charge.
The cohort, ranging from 2nd to final-year students, conducted breast cancer awareness outreach in the Katutura intermediate area and Windhoek Central Hospital. During the exercise, they distributed educational fliers and educated the public about breast cancer.
This year’s outreach, according to 4th-year radiography student Maria Vatileni, was inspired by radiography students’ personal experiences with breast cancer patients. “As radiography students, we often screen patients for breast cancer and as a result, are exposed to patients who find out about their status at an advanced stage, which is mainly because of the information they have at the time,” Vatileni said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), “each year 8.8 million people die from cancer, mostly in low- and middle-income countries” – a problem that is largely attributed to delayed diagnosis due to a lack of information.
“Even though everyone is aware of breast cancer, many don’t understand the details surrounding it,” said 2nd-year student, Klarike Els. Breast cancer has various symptoms and reasons why it can develop, that many people including hospital staff are unaware of.
“Most people think that breast cancer sensitisation should only happen to patients, but a lot of hospital staff are not aware of the dangers of detecting breast or cervical cancer at an advanced stage,” emphasised Els.
As a result, she added, “we distributed breast cancer information fliers around the hospital and explained to patients, hospital staff and the general public of the dangers of breast cancer and that early detection is always better, especially with cancer which is unpredictable and dangerous.”
Vatileni also pointed out that “people tend to think more of the cost when it comes to health-related issues. They think of the cost of getting tested, the treatment and being hospitalised. A concern that is quite common, but should not be the reason to delay breast cancer screening.”

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