UKZN and Yale universities unite in cancer awareness

2017-03-22 06:02
PHOTO: suppliedThe University of KwaZulu-Natal, in partnership with Yale University, launched an outreach programme last week to educate the public about head and neck cancer.

PHOTO: suppliedThe University of KwaZulu-Natal, in partnership with Yale University, launched an outreach programme last week to educate the public about head and neck cancer.

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THE University of KwaZulu-Natal in partnership with Yale University launched an outreach programme last week to educate the public about head and neck cancer. The programme is one of many between the two universities, which joined forces three years ago.

Specialists from the U.S. and South Africa began visits to health care facilities around the city starting with Grey’s and Edendale hospitals where they educated health staff about spotting the cancer at an early stage.

Speaking to Maritzburg Fever, Yale University and UKZN lecturer, Zachary Porterfield, said the project has been in the pipeline for six months.

“This type of cancer has been ongoing in KZN. We have dealt with a large number of reports of the cancer. The survival rate of less than 50% disturbed us hence we saw the need to join forces and spread the word,” said Porterfield.

The main purpose of the outreach programme is to educate the public about risks factors and symptoms.

Porterfield said alcohol, tobacco and betel nut contributes to this form of cancer.

He said if someone has pain between the head and the neck for two weeks, they should go for screening.

“The cancer can be treated effectively if spotted early and we can have an 80% survival rate,” he said.

Porterfield said they were looking to expand the campaign all over KZN, especially in rural areas.

The outreach programme has received support from Merck, who are aligned with the UKZN-Yale Collaborative and the Department of Health, in working to address health care needs in South Africa and around the world.

“Anything that seeks to educate our people about health we welcome especially with cancer taken as one of the most dangerous diseases,” said Agiza Hlongwane from the Department of Health.

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