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Editorial (BY Charles Mushinga) HANDLE CERVICAL CANCER WITH most of the attention on cancer in the media given

to breast cancer, it is of concern to note that, according to health experts, four women are dying of cervical cancer everyday in the country. Like Harare West legislator Jessie Majome put it, such statistics are worrisome and there is a need to probe why the cases were so rampant and more common in black women Zimbabwe. Her suspicions that these statistics have to do a lot with our culture and beliefs given some of the cultural practices that black women especially in this country are subjected to . . . (like) most pregnant mothers (being) encouraged to insert herbs as they are told that it will help then during labour (or) by using vaginal tightening herbs or creams, must get the attention they deserve and the true cause of this type of cancer should be ascertained. There is need to investigate the herbs used and their possible effects on women. Resources should be channelled to that cause as the rate of cervical cancer in the country has become a cause for concern. Like MP Majome said; The government needs to move in swiftly and act because we are in a crisis. There is need to disseminate information across the country so that women realise the importance of screening.There is need for massive campaigns because most women dont realise the need for screening and government should avail more screening centres so that the burden is eased on women. There is need to motivate women to get screened and bridge the gap that has been caused by the distances that women have to travel to get screened. In Zimbabwe, cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women accounting for 33,4 percent of all cancer cases among black women. Cancer, in its entirety not just cervical, is an ignored yet deadly disease and the efforts being made to raise cancer awareness should continue unabated. Recent research shows that up to 90 percent of cancers are caused by environmental factors. This includes lifestyle related factors, such as the use of tobacco and tobacco products and use of herbs as aforementioned but strangely, not much is being done to educate people about the dangers of using these products. The Cancer Association of Zimbabwe is committed to raising cancer awareness and improving the quality of life of patients and their families but they need support from government, the corporate world and non-governmental organisations to achieve their mission to collectively reduce the disease burden due to cancer through promotion of action research, education, supportive counseling, advocacy and other evidence based interventions. Education to prevent cervical (or any type of) cancer or ensure early detection is not widespread enough and many people especially in rural areas do not even know how to inspect themselves for signs and symptoms of cancer. For those that are diagnosed, the major problem remains access to cancer drugs and their affordability. Let us handle cancer with urgency.