Re-affirming its commitment to the fight against cancer, Standard Bank donated N$120 000 to the Cancer Association of Namibia.
The donation was made towards the association’s yearly Save Your Skin campaign for 2016/2017 on Tuesday, 22 November. The campaign focuses on raising awareness of skin cancer.
“Skin cancer is reported to be second most common cancer in Namibia, with breast cancer topping the list. In view of this there needs to be increasing awareness and prevention of skin cancer in order to address this health concern in our country,” Standard Bank’s Acting Head of Marketing, Sigrid Tjijorokisa, said.
Standard Bank has been donating to this cause for 11 consecutive years. The campaign commences annually in November 2016 and runs to October of the following year.
“As you know our country’s hot temperatures can even reach up to 40 degrees Celsius. It is therefore important that people are constantly reminded of the dangers of not protecting themselves against the sun. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of skin cancer and to highlight the importance of prevention at all times,” Tjijorokisa stressed.
The proceeds from the donation are not only used to raise awareness of skin cancer, it is also used to purchase sunscreen which the Cancer Association resells at price discounted between 30-45% below current market value. This is done because sunscreen is generally expensive and most people cannot afford it.
2 244 cases of cancer were recorded in 2015 and 534 have been recorded for 2016 by the Cancer Association of Namibia. The year 2014 saw an astonishing 2 780 cases of cancer being recorded.
The CEO of the Cancer Association of Namibia, Rolf Hansen, said that his association also found that 261 men and 166 women were diagnosed with skin cancer in 2014, while 160 men and 116 women were diagnosed with skin cancer in 2015.
“Cancer touches the life of any person, no matter your race, age, gender, financial or educational background. The common denominator still remains non-education and non-awareness on the topic, defiance of the disease that is commonly known and referred to as ‘the white man’s illness’ and the highest probability: The lack of diagnostics both personally and medically,” Hansen explained.
He also noted that there was a strong link between HIV/AIDS patients with lowered immune systems and Kaposi Sarcoma, a form of skin cancer. Most of the people diagnosed with skin cancer hailed from the Oshiwambo-speaking communities dispelling the myth that it only affects white people.
Hansen pointed out that while the numbers may not seem significant, they actually were with treatment for the disease pegged at around N$150 000 annually. He expressed his gratitude towards Standard Bank for the help the bank has provided over the years.
In a bid to further combat the disease, the Cancer Association launched its National Cancer Outreach Programme in August 2015 and they also partnered with the Ministry of Health and Social Services to roll out comprehensive education and screening plans for 2017.
“As this new wave of disease threatens to wash over our country, let us make it our combined fight to spread awareness, campaign and advocate for better screening and treatment options and take hands as a united frontier to bar cancer and not allow it to engulf our nation,” Hansen concluded.