- COVID-19 Overtakes Cancer as world leading cause of death
THE prevailing COVID-19 pandemic should not come in the way of interventions to control other health issues such as Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) especially cancer whose casualty rate is still very high, health and child care minister, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has said.
By Michael Gwarisa
Addressing the World Cancer Day virtual commemorations, VP Chiwenga said even though recent data indicates that COVID-19 has overtaken cancer as the world’s leading cause of death, there was need for increased efforts to combat the continuously growing cancer scourge.
While the nation is putting up a spirited fight against COVID-19, citizens and stakeholders are encouraged to be mindful of the threat posed by Non-Communicable Diseases like Cancer, Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Hypertension and other chronic health conditions or injuries.
“It is sad to note that patients beset with immune suppression are more susceptible to COVID-19. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Cancer is the second leading cause of deaths worldwide deaths; only surpassed by COVID-19 which recently doubled the casualty,” said VP Chiwenga
According to WHO, cancer caused 9.6 million deaths globally in 2018 and at least one our six deaths were caused by cancer and and 70% of the cancers were occurring in low and middle income countries.
“According to the cancer registry (2016) a total 2 751 people died of cancer in Zimbabwe. The threat requires humankind to raise awareness of cancer and advocate for its prevention, detection and treatment. Hence the 4th of February every year was set aside for the World Cancer Day.”
This year’s commemorations are running under the theme “I am and i will campaign for prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.” The world over, it has been noted that cancer is a lifestyle disease and its major causes are air pollution, overweight/obesity, genetic/hereditary, lack of physical activity, alcohol use, unhealthy diet, the sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus, Ultra Violent Radiation, Tobacco and Cigarettes Use, Hepatitis or carcinogenic infections and advanced age.
“Modification or avoidance of key risk factors can reduce the burden of cancer. Citizens are encouraged to forgo bad habits and celebrate the longevity of their God given life. The prevalence of cancer foregrounded the requirement for nations to set up robust and efficient health systems,” said VP Chiwenga.