MORE women died from cancer related illnesses over the past two years compared to their male counterparts, as cancer continues to wreak havoc in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has said.
By Michael Gwarisa
Briefing delegates during the World Cancer Day celebrations in Marondera, Health Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said at least 1 11 1 women (53%) died of cancer while 951 men (46.1 %) succumbed to the disease bringing the total figure of cancer mortality to 2 062 in 2016.
“The most frequent occurring caners among Zimbabweans were Cervical cancer (19%), Prostate( 9%), Kaposi sarcoma (ks) 7%, non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) 6%, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) 6%, Oesophagus 5%, colo rectal 4% and stomach 3%, the other caners accounted for 34 % of the registered malignancies.
“The burden of cancer is not only an individual health challenge but is also a public health challenge which affects more than just an individual but families, communities, nations, and the world as a whole.
“The impact of the dieses can also be witnessed in the economic and social realms as it robs of the most productive age group i.e 30-70 years and places a huge burden on the health systems as advanced diagnostics and drugs as well as intensive disability management are required, all of which have a negative bearing on socio economic development,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
According to the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry (ZNCR), annual report of 2013, a total of 6 548 new cases were recorded comprising of more females 4 124 (58%) than males 3 041 (42%), while 236 were diagnosed in children split as 52% boys and 48% girls.
Minister Parirenyatwa also applauded the donor community for coming through to complement government’s efforts to eradicate the increasing scourge of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and other related ailments which include launch of a Mass Drug Administration against intestinal worms and bilharzia which cause kidney cancer in Mashonaland West.
“However, our progress has not been without hurdles, resources for the prevention and control of cancer in the country remain limited and efforts uncoordinated. This has in turn affected research and program implementation.
“There remains a huge gap in evidence and this makes it difficult to identify exactly who is affected, where there are located and how they can be assisted. The challenge of misinformation has also derailed the progress.”
He added that most people in communities subscribe to myths and legends which have resulted in poor health seeking behaviors, seeking assistance from unqualified personnel and using inappropriate remedies.