Yemen needs more support in cancer fight
Cancer foundations in governorates across Yemen celebrated World Cancer Day on Saturday by raising awareness about the disease.
Ali Al-Khawlani, head of the National Cancer Control Foundation (NCCF) described cancer in Yemen as an “undeclared war”.
“On World Cancer Day we tried to draw the attention of people and organizations to cancer patients who really need psychological and financial support," he said
"People should know that cancer patients are not sentenced to death.”
But Al-Khawlani explained that the tumor centers lack cancer medicines, often because they are so expensive.
He also revealed that around 95 percent of cancer patients come to the tumor centers with their cancer in the advanced stages, highlighting the need for earlier detection. "That's why we plan to build more tumor centers and early detection centers," he said.
"We're in urgent need of building new centers in Sana'a, Aden, Taiz, Ibb and different governorates to treat the increasing number of cancer patients," he said.
In addition to a lack of support and medicines, many governorates suffer from an absence of oncologists, with some patients forced to pay large sums of money to travel to Sana'a to see a cancer specialist.
The branch of the NCCF in Hodeida hosted two visiting Saudi oncologists on Saturday, providing free consultations for hundreds of poor cancer patients.
Yasser Noor, head of the NCCF in Hodeida, said that the branch of the foundation in the deprived governorate organized awareness campaign about cancer in markets, mosques and other public places.
The NCCF also organized an entertainment trip for about 100 children with cancer in Hodeida, giving them gifts and sweets.
According to Noor, Hodeida needs more support to enable it to confront the increasing number of cancer patients in the impoverished governorate.
Waheeb Hayel, head of the NCCF in Aden echoed the same needs for support in the governorate’s branch.
In conjunction with World Cancer Day, the Aden branch held mobile clinics that target employees in governmental facilities and private companies.
Hayel told the Yemen Times that male doctors were sent to raise awareness about cancer prevention measures while female medics were sent out to educate female employees on the early detection of breast cancer.
"Unfortunately, many women postpone or neglect being checked and that's why we sent our medics and equipment to these places," he said, adding that they had diagnosed a number of cancer patients in this way.
Breast cancer is rampant in Aden governorate, Hayel said, calling on organizations and the local council to support the foundation and provide it with much needed equipment.
In addition to smoking and chewing qat, Hayel explained that many youths and students have started taking a number of harmful substances that cause cancer, such as shamma (smokeless tobacco) and tompol (green leaves covered with paint, sugar and coconut).