Data shows cancer cases on the increase in Zim

Talent Gore

AT least 8 500 new cancer cases are recorded in Zimbabwe every year, signalling an increase in the cases, a report has shown.

In its latest report, the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry noted that in 2018 the country recorded 7 841 new cancer cases and 2 743 cancer deaths.

According to the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry, cervical cancer contributes around 38 percent to the total cancer burden among women, which is very significant.

Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (CAZ) information research and evaluation officer, Lovemore Makurirofa, said most cancer cases were being diagnosed at later stages.

“The situation is very worrying in that 80 percent of all the cancer cases are being diagnosed at stage three and four, so there is late-stage diagnosis,” he said.

“I think in Zimbabwe patients are reporting very late at health institutions. This might be as a result of a number of reasons: maybe they try to visit traditional healers and so forth before they come to hospital then also the cost at the hospital is also a hindrance.

“It’s not only the cost of treatment, which is high, but also the diagnosis also, because you need to be able to afford the scans, you need to afford the biopsies and so forth and a lot of people cannot afford these scans and biopsies so it’s also an area that requires consideration.

“One can pay for a scan then they go back and try and look for some financial resources then they come again. Maybe after two or three months they want to pay for a biopsy.

“That means that cancer will be diagnosed very late and this is the reason why 80 percent of all the cancers in Zimbabwe are diagnosed very late because there is less affordability.”

Makurirofa said there were three treatment options available in Zimbabwe, the primary modalities being chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery.

Malurirofa said there were other cancers like colon and rectal cancers which were also on the increase.

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