Delays in early cancer diagnosis among people are fuelling cancer deaths in Malawi, health officials have disclosed.
Making the disclosure during world cancer commemoration day on Saturday at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) Director, Dr. Andew Gonani bemoaned that many people go to the hospital when the disease is at an advanced stage.
He said it was disheartening to note that for every 10 people who go to the hospital, eight of them are always in a critical condition which cannot be treated.
“The ratio is very high and if the trend continues to be like this, how can we expect to fight the disease,” wondered Gonani.
According to Gonani, cancer is curable only if people opt for early treatment upon being diagnosed with the disease.
He, therefore, urged people to take an initiative by going for early cancer detection in a quest to combat the disease in Malawi.
“Whether one is sick or not it is good to go for cancer screening before the disease becomes untreatable,” advised Gonani.
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.
“As CAM, we are doing our part, but government should also take part to sensitize people on the disease just like they do with other pandemic diseases like HIV and AIDS to reach out to many people,” Chogawana said.
A Zomba based cancer survivor, Alice Mtenje asked government to build a cancer hospital and increase the number of doctors operating on cancer patients in order to deal with the problem in time.
“The demand for cancer treatment is very high against one doctor which is unreasonable. Apart from that we need to have our own cancer hospital,” said Mtenje.
Gonani, however, said over K40 million has already been secured for the completion of the Cancer Ward (4A) which is currently under construction at QECH.
“I should say that by the end of this year, the project will be completed and some cancer patients will be operated on in the ward,” he said.
The hospital director also added that a team comprising practicing medical practitioners would be going for training in order to increase the number of cancer specialists in Malawi.
QECH attends to 1, 100 cancer patients per year out of which 500 are admitted to the hospital.
This year’s commemoration was held under the theme “Dispel damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :