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By the National Health Service, UK.


Sunday, November 24, 2013.


There's one thing members of the black Christian community don't do well: and that's sickness. If they experience unusual physical symptoms, notice growths on their bodies that shouldn't be there or experience pain they've never had before they are likely to either, ignore it, shrug it off as nothing or pray for it to go away, instead of doing what they should do: go to the doctor to get it checked out.


For many believers, when something seems wrong with their bodies, the easier option is often to pray about it in the belief that God - who they're taught is a miracle healer - will heal them rather than visit their doctor. And whilst there's no doubt that God is a healer - many Christians can testify to being healed through prayer - it's also a fact that God has given medical doctors the knowledge, insight and skill to diagnose illnesses and diseases and prescribe the necessary treatment.


It is unfortunate, but some people, including Christians, die before their time because they failed to take appropriate action and visit the doctor when they experienced a physical symptom of a serious illness. And the truth of the matter is, that often times that annoying symptom turns out to be nothing serious. However, it can be a sign of a serious illness, which, if caught and diagnosed in time, can be treated effectively.


Two such diseases are bladder and kidney cancer. The primary symptom of both cancers is visible blood in urine.  Other symptoms associated with bladder cancer include (i) needing to urinate very often or very suddenly and (ii) pain while urinating, whilst other symptoms of kidney cancer include (i) a pain below the ribs that doesn't go away (ii) a lump in your stomach.


The NHS Be Clear on Cancer campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of both bladder and kidney cancer as well as inform people within the black Christian community, that early diagnosis and treatment of bladder and kidney cancers can save lives. Dr Jonathan Oloyede, pastor of City Chapel in Whitechapel, east London and Convenor of the National Day of Prayer has given his full support to the 'Be Clear on Cancer' campaign. "As a qualified doctor and church leader, I understand the power of both prayer and conventional medicine. I believe that Christians should always pray, but when they experience a symptom like blood in their urine, they should visit their doctor immediately so that the symptom can be assessed. And if is found that they have bladder or kidney cancer, the appropriate treatment can be started straight away in order to prolong their life."


Blood in urine is a key symptom in over 80% of bladder cancers and over half of kidney cancers, and whilst having the symptom doesn't mean that the individual has the disease it it makes sense to get it checked out. The chances are it's nothing serious, but these cancers are more treatable if they are found early.


One thing people who dislike visiting the doctor often do is self-diagnose. Doing so tends to be a hit and miss affair, and people get it wrong more often than they get it right. It's best to go to the doctor who can arrange assessments instead of hoping for the best. And if you tell a family member you've seen blood in your urine, and they advise you to visit the doctor, the best action you could take is follow their advice. It's given because they care.


The bible encourages Christians to see their bodies as holy, and a temple where the Holy Spirit can reside. It makes sense then for believers to not only take good care of their bodies by keeping fit and eating healthily, but also by visiting the doctor when they experience a symptom that could be a sign of a serious disease.


Dr Jonathan Oloyede shared, "Our bodies are the means through which we live out our lives and carry out God's purposes here on earth. It makes sense then, to look after our health and visit our doctors if something seems wrong.Medicine is a gift from God to support our wellbeing and therefore medical aid does not compromise our belief in divine healing."


"It's great that the NHS is encouraging England's black Christian community to look out for the symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer with their 'Be Clear on Cancer' campaign. It's my prayer that people will take note, and if they do notice blood in their urine, that they'll visit the doctor as well as pray, so that they can be diagnosed and treated quickly."


For more information on the signs and symptoms of bladder and kidney cancer please visit www.nhs.uk/bloodinpee



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