LEADING EDGE OFCANCER
A few weeks ago we woke up to the sad news of the passing of Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore, which shook the country to the core. Collymore was a respected corporateiconwho had blended and helped many Kenyans at different levels. This turn of events left many wondering how deadly cancer is and how it strikes very fast. The reality of the disease is that it spreads very fast especially if one is diagnosed at a late stage (stage 4).A larger population of Kenyans have little knowledge about cancer and some of the elements associated with the disease.
Asbestos is one of the materials that has been linked to cancer. It consists of naturally occurring mineral fibers that are durable, fire resistance and highly carcinogenic which when inhaledcan trigger lethal diseases such as mesothelioma cancer (an aggressive malignant cancer that lodges in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or the heart).
In the face of undeniable scientific evidence that calls out the dangers of deadly asbestos, tonesare exported every year to developing countries where it is handled with little or no regulation.Regardless of being banned, it is still abundantly around us nourishing a major global health risk.
Asbestos is widely used in the construction industry and it is still embedded on the rooftops of our homes, offices and even schools where we have naturally older buildings as spotted majorly in the east lands of Nairobi and other parts of the country. Due to lack of surveys, a large number of the said buildings contain deteriorated and damaged asbestos materials with occupants and owners completely unaware of the hazardous situation hence not safe from even significant exposure.
In 2018,some cheap Asian made thermos flaskswhichhave an element of asbestosflooded our markets. It is believed that the glass lining of these flasks contains asbestos which poses danger to human health. Majority of these consumers use them without understanding the effects of carcinogenic element on their health.
Asbestos is also used as contaminant for othergoods that are used by human. This includes hair driers in the salons, where most people have at least used one, somechildren’stoys especially crayons and remote-controlled cars have been identified to have asbestos as a component when manufactured.
Seeking anonymity, I managed to speak to one gentleman who is one of the stories behind the grim numbers. Meeting him in May,2019, he was in the midst of a powerful chemotherapy infusion and immunotherapy after being diagnosed with Mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of the lungs and chest walls). A former engineer believed that he was exposed to asbestos at a power plant project 15 years back while working in Russia.
Because its symptoms show years later and not immediately, one would oftenassume in case of weight loss, swelling and pain in the abdomen, fever and chills. Many conditions share these symptoms and having these symptoms would result in you taking painkillers or antibiotics suppressing the pains away, but what he urged people is to seek medical advice todetermine what is causing them rather than ignoring what might turn out to be deadly.
He further warned against asbestos insulated pipes and boilers especially in old constructed buildings which the low and some middle class people live in. Misdiagnosis has also been a trend where doctors treat patients over what they think or presume instead of doing thorough checks to ensure the real root cause of particular symptoms.
Time wastage on the other hand as compared to the rate at which cancer cells replicate is unfathomable hence the high rate at which patients succumb to the different types of cancers. Research has it that stomach cancer tops the list followed by throat cancer, cervical, breast and prostate cancer.
Experts have raised a red flag on the increasing number of persons diagnosed with cancer. Chemicals used in our farms and industries have and continue to have detrimental effects to our ozone layer. Long hours on our mobile phones using the right ear and especially when it is nearly charging out has radiation rays that may endanger our brains.
Long hours using computers and microwaves in our homes also have UV rays that pose a threat to our health issues. Two thirds of all cancers are preventable.Information and education are key to cancer prevention, detection and to informed decisions on the treatment options. Cancer is not a death sentence!