Malawi’s oncologists Richard Nyasosera has expressed concern that the number of cancer cases in the country continues to increase for both men and women.
According to the Nyasosera currently at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) Cancer Unit in Lilongwe, Malawi is facing a cancer threat, with about 1500 cases of cancer.
“In the past five years, cases of cancer have been on the rise “, he said.
Nyasosera said that the figure may be more than 1500 if all cases were to be identified at hospitals.
He disclosed this in Lilongwe on Friday during launch of ‘sports for health’ initiative among public servants and general cancer awareness event.
The medical oncologist said the common types of cancers in Malawi are Kaposi sarcoma, cervical cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer.
He bemoaned that many people go to the hospital when the disease is at an advanced stage.
“In most cases, patients typically approach oncologists in the later stages of cancer. This is the main reason why survival rates are low,” he said.
“ This makes it difficult to control. It is, therefore, important that people must rush to the hospital, if they are not
feeling well”, Nyasosera said.
He said there is need to improve the country’s screening programmes, especially in cases of cervical and breast cancer in women.
“We have to emphasise early diagnosis and giving the right treatment without delay,” he said.
He, however, suggested there should be increased awareness on what causes the disease and equip hospital laboratories.
Cancer specialists say the killer disease is largely fuelled by sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary habits among other causes.
Smoking and drinking alcohol are two of the biggest things that increase the chance of developing oral, liver and kidney cancer.
“Alcohol increases the risk of cancer even at low doses,” say the researchers from the University of Milan and other centres in the US, France, Canada, Iran and Sweden.
They argued that by stopping smoking and cutting back on alcohol, people can lower risk of these cancers as well as other diseases.
“Maintaining a healthy bodyweight is also important in cutting the risk of liver and kidney cancers.”
Cancer Association of Malawi (CAM) Chairperson, Chifundo Chogawana said cancer remains the biggest challenge in Malawi because of lack of awareness about the disease.
He appealed to government to treat cancer like any other deadly disease such as HIV and AIDS by creating massive awareness campaigns.
Chief secretary to the government, George Mkondiwa said there is “ a lot of commitment from government to assist people with cancer.”
Mkondiwa said there are plans to build a cancer centre in the country.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :