We are founded on the belief that no one should face cancer alone. We want to give hope, inspire, and enrich the lives of cancer patients and their caregivers.
In Zambia, breast cancer is still a disease shrouded in mystery and fenced in silence. In Zambia, it is the second most common cancer in women, after cervical cancer. Close to 900 new breast cancer patients were diagnosed in Zambia in 2018 (Globocan 2018). According to data from the Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH), breast cancer cases are rising yet the 2-year survival rate among women treated at CDH remains below 50% due to late stage diagnosis. Late diagnosis is s partially due to the lack of information on breast cancer amongst the public as well as medical personnel.
The Zambian Cancer Society (ZCS) is a non-profit organisation established in 2009 by Udie Soko, a survivor of 2 cancers. The ZCS mission is to help save lives by focusing on dissemination of information and supporting those affected by cancer, irrespective of age, gender or type of cancer. By breaking the silence on cancer, ZCS is committed to creating a cancer-smart Zambia through health education, patient and caregiver support programmes and events.
To help stem the increase in breast cancer, people affected by cancer need to access culturally relevant information on the disease and options to receive support. Radio, as the most popular and accessible mode of communication in the country has the potential to reach large audiences to sensitize them on breast cancer as well as support patients and their caregivers.
ZCS has created the country’s first radio drama on breast cancer called Tisamala (meaning “we care”). Written and directed by multi-award winning author Ellen Banda-Aaku and performed by a stellar cast, Tisamala is set a fictional breast cancer clinic. The drama opens when new head consultant Dr. Maso arrives at the clinic. He is determined to improve the image and operations at the clinic, but his plans are not without challenges and resistance least of all from feisty Zondani, who has worked at the clinic as the cleaning supervisor since it opened two years ago. Melody, the calm and good intentioned counsellor finds herself trying to referee relations between her co-workers.
Through the various characters and their storylines it is hoped listeners will gain an understanding of how together we can stand up to breast cancer and the issues and challenges being faced by patients, caregivers and medical staff as they battle this disease in Zambia.
Tisamala has been made possible through the support of the Ministry of Health, the Union for International Cancer Control SPARC Programme and Pfizer Oncology