60% of Zimbabwe cancer cases HIV related
ZIMBABWE records 7 000 new cancer cases annually and 60 percent of these are HIV related, the Health and Child Welfare Ministry has said.
Speaking at the National conference on cancer prevention and control Health and Child Welfare Deputy Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said cancer is responsible for 7,6 million deaths worldwide annually of which two thirds occur in low- middle income countries.
“The World Health Organisation has reported a cancer -age standardised mortality rate of 122 per 100 000 population, for both sexes reported in 2004, whilst the International Atomic Energy Agency highlighted that, Zimbabwe sees, on average, 7 000 new cancer cases each year. Only a fraction of these- some 1 300 to 2 000 is treated with radiotherapy.
“The Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry 2005 report indicated that 60 percent of cancers recorded in Zimbabwe were HIV related,” he said.
Dr Mombeshora said according to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, cancer patients in Harare are not likely to survive five years after diagnosis at present levels of care. He said the WHO projects that without immediate action the global number of deaths from cancer will increase by nearly 80 percent by 2030. Dr Mombeshora said millions of cancer deaths globally could be prevented through proven prevention, early detection and treatment approaches.
“The medicines, technologies and services are not widely available in Zimbabwe due to high cost, resulting in a lot of premature deaths each year.
“About 40 percent of some cancers can be prevented by adopting healthy life styles such as healthy diets (increased intake of fruits and vegetables), avoiding tobacco use (smoking, chewing, and snuff), and reducing or avoiding alcohol assumption. Screening which includes Pap Smears, PSAs and Clinical Breast Examinations as well as counselling services must be made available at health centre level as part of the Non Communicable Disease prevention and control programme,” he said.
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