HIV Related Cancers On The Decline In Zimbabwe

NEW data released by the Zimbabwe Cancer Registry (ZCR) shows a decline in HIV related cancers owing to increased coverage cancer screening services coupled with other HIV treatment and care services countrywide.

By Michael Gwarisa

According to the latest Zimbabwe Cancer Registry Report which looked at the Pattern of Cancer in Zimbabwe, the total number of new cancer cases recorded among Zimbabweans of all races (including non-melanoma skin cancer) in 2018 was 7 841 comprising 3 301 (42.1%) males and 4 540 (57.9%) females.

While over 7000 new cases of cancer were registered during the period under review, some HIV-related malignancies (particularly Kaposi sarcoma) continue to be on the decline.

A record 7 841 new cases of cancer representing an increase of 4 percentage points when compared with the preceding year were registered in 2018.This trend is expected to continue until the ZNCR achieves complete national coverage. The ZNCR is grateful to the National Aids Council of Zimbabwe (NAC) which funded the national outreach programme. Some HIV-related malignancies (particularly Kaposi sarcoma) continue to be on the decline.

“We estimate cancers associated with HIV infections (KS, ocular squamous cell carcinomas of the conjunctiva, anal cancer, vulval cancer, penile cancer and cervical cancer) in 2018 at 40%, down from 60% recorded in 2005 during the peak of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. This is based on comparison of incidence of known HIV-related malignancies between the two years,” said Mr. Eric Chokunonga, Registrar, Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry.

The geographical distribution of the 7 841 new cases of cancer recorded in 2018 according to the 10 administrative provinces of Zimbabwe were as follows: Bulawayo  City 1 072 (13.7%), Harare City 2 677 (34.1%), Manicaland 524 (6.8%), Mashonaland Central 456 (5.9%), Mashonaland East 1 052 (13.4%), Mashonaland West 513 (6.5%), Masvingo 427 (5.4%), Midlands 479 (6.1%), Matabeleland North 211 (2.7%) and  Matabeleland South 192 (2.4%). The origin of 238 (3.0%) of the cases could not be ascertained.

In Harare City a total of 2 677 malignant tumours consisting of 1 193 (44.6%) males and 1 484 (55.4%) females were registered while the number of new registrations in the City of Bulawayo was 1 072 comprising 485 (45.2%) men and 587 (54.8%) women. The most frequently occurring cancers among Zimbabweans of all races in 2018 were cervix uteri (21%), prostate (11%), breast (8%), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (5%),  oesophagus (4%), Kaposi sarcoma (KS) (4%), colo-rectal (4%), stomach (3%) and liver (3%).

The other cancers accounted for 37% of the registered malignancies. The leading causes of cancer among Zimbabwean black men in 2018 were prostate  cancer (27.9%) followed by NHL (8.2%), KS (7.2%), oesophagus (6.3%), liver (5.3%), stomach (4.4%), lung (3.6%), eye (3.1%), colon (2.8%) and penis (2.8%).

“In Zimbabwean black women, the most frequent cancers were cervical cancer (39.2%), breast (12.5%), oesophagus (3.8%), NHL (3.5%) stomach (3.3%), ovary (2.4%), eye (2.3%), KS (2.2%), liver (2.1%) and corpus uteri (2.0%). Cancer of the prostate (25.8%) predominated in the non-black male population of  Zimbabwe in 2018. This was followed by colon cancer (11.3%), lung (8.6%), rectum (6.6%) NHL (5.3%), melanoma skin cancer (MSC) (4.6%), oesophagus (4.6%), tongue (3.3%), bladder (2.6%), and stomach (2.0%).”

The most common cancers in non-black Zimbabwean women were breast (36.1%), lung (6.9%), melanoma skin cancer (6.2%), corpus uteri (6.2%), colon (4,9%), cervix uteri (4.9%), NHL (4.2%), stomach (3.5%), ovary (3.5%) and rectum (2.8%).

Meanwhile, a total of 2 743 cancer deaths comprising 1 248 (45.5%) males and 1 495 (54.5%) females were recorded in Harare, Chitungwiza and Bulawayo in 2018. The leading causes of the deaths were cervical cancer (13%), prostate (10%), breast (7%), oesophagus (7%), liver (7%), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (6%), stomach (5%), lung (5%), and colo-rectal (4%). The other cancers constituted 36% of the recorded deaths.

In terms of stage disease at diagnosis, a total of 3 535 cases (45%) had the stage of tumour at diagnosis recorded while 4 299(55%) had unknown stage. The staging systems used were mainly TNM and FIGO for cervix and uterus. Of these staged cases, 2 813 (80%) were in stage 3 and 4.

 

 

 

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