MUTARE — Zimbabwe is one of the developing countries expected to experience the impact of cancer-related illnesses over the next two to four decades mainly due to lack of resources to combat the disease.
Cancer cases are seen doubling over this period as the cash-strapped government battles to combat the non-communicable disease.
The impact of cancer on communities is severe as rising cases of cancer have been confirmed by the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry (ZNCR).
Cervical and breast cancer are more common among the female population, while prostate and kaposi sarcoma lead among men.
A total of 6 548 new cases were recorded in 2013, according to ZNCR.
Females constituted the bulk of the cases with 3 771 (58 percent) suffering from the disease, while males constituted 2 777 (42 percent).
The disease also affected 236 children with boys constituting 52 percent of the recorded cases among minors.
Harare alone recorded 2 062 cancer deaths with 1 111 women succumbing to the deadly disease.
The 2014 World Health Organisation report indicated that non-communicable diseases in Zimbabwe accounted for 31 percent of deaths that year with 10 percent attributed to cancer.
Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Aldrin Musiiwa, said the cases are expected to double in the next 20 to 40 years.
He said in order for government to combat the impact of cancer, there was need to establish treatment centres across the country.
Currently, there are only two such centres in the country in Bulawayo and Harare.
“There is need for the establishment of cancer treatment centres that provide comprehensive cancer prevention, care and treatment,” he said in his key note address at the World Cancer Day commemorations last week at Sakubva Stadium.
“This makes it difficult for most people to access these services, as these two (treatment centres) even remain under-staffed and ill-equipped.
“There is need for adequate manpower through priority recruitment, employment and retention of staff, coupled with provision of diagnostic and treatment equipment including related critical medical supplies for cancer management,” he said. – Kenneth Matimaire
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