THE Thokozani Khupe Cancer Foundation (TKCF) has called on government to prioritise treatment and prevention of cancer as the country commemorates International World Cancer Day this week.
World Cancer Day, celebrated on February 4, was set aside to raise awareness on the killer disease.
In a statement, TKCF said it was joining hands with the rest of the world in encouraging early detection of cancer, its prevention and treatment to save lives.
“The TKCF also calls on the government to make treatment and prevention of cancer a priority through affordable healthcare, accessibility of cancer treatment facilities as well as the availability of cancer medication,” the organisation said.
“The foundation, therefore, calls on everyone to go for cancer screening and self-examination for various cancers to save lives. Early detection of cancer saves lives.”
The foundation, founded by the MDC-T leader, who is also a cancer survivor, was launched in 2012, and seeks to alleviate the plight of cancer patients through advocacy, early detection programmes and assisting in policy formulation.
Khupe founded the organisation after she was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was Deputy Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity between 2009 and 2013.
She said cancer treatment was expensive and called on government to ensure patients had access to cancer testing and treatment facilities across the country.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, according to the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (CAZ). CAZ says early detection of abnormalities gives doctors a better chance to offer effective treatment.
Last year, Health minister Obbadiah Moyo revealed that over
5 000 cases were diagnosed annually in Zimbabwe, but said the number was higher than that, as most cases were not captured because the patients do not present themselves for treatment or register deaths.
He said most of those who presented themselves for treatment would be at advanced stages of the disease, leading to low survival rates.
Moyo said the current cancer treatment and palliation services in the country are unable to meet demand. This year’s commemorations are being held under the theme I am and I will.