30% of cancer cases can be prevented in Malawi- official

Head of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Unit in the Ministry of Health, Dr Beatrice Mwagomba has said 30 percent of cancer cases in the country can be prevented by living a health-care life style.

Mwagomba made the remarks on Saturday in Lilongwe during a public session held at Cross Roads hotel in Lilongwe, aimed at shedding light on cancer awareness, to mark the commemoration of world cancer day in Malawi.

“People should follow good health care, by reducing eating food that was covered with plastic bags during cooking process; because the chemicals used to produce plastic bags melt and when consumed they could cause cancer.

“Cancer can also be prevented if people reduce heavy smoking habits and excessive beer drinking and eating fatty food including groundnuts.

Masamba (left)
Masamba (left) says sunlight lays can affect people 

“Undertaking various physical exercises like taking a stroll, jogging and manual work can help build good health.”

She also said the physical exercises eliminate to a greater extent body fats, hence reducing possibilities of suffering from cancer.

Concurring with Magomba, Oncologist Dr Leo Masamba said sunlight rays can also affect people who have lighter complexion, citing Albinos who are at risk to suffer skin cancer.

“Albinos need to wear long sleeves and a hat to prevent them from direct sunlight,” explained Masamba.

Masamba also advised parents and teachers to ensure that Albinos always wear a hat even at school.

He cautioned youth to avoid indulging in early sexual activities, especially girls, saying such attitude provides opportunities for cancer.

“Girls who indulge themselves in early sexual activities and those who have multiple sexual partners are at risk of suffering cervical cancer,” Masamba said.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) in Malawi cervical cancer which is associated with Human Papillona Virus (HPV) is estimated at 2316 cases which is 33.6 percent and this rate culminated into 1621 deaths.

The incidences of cancer in the country are linked to HIV and 28 percent of HIV deaths are due to cancer.

He further said women should often go for screening from the age of 30, even if they were not married, every five years.

“Although women are encouraged to go for screening at the age of 30, but other countries are starting from 21, 23, but the age is too late. I have a right now a patient who is 21 years old, suffering from cancer,” said Masamba.

Masamba said very few women go for screening in the country.

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