A health expert has expressed concern at the growing cancer public health burden amid reports that almost 7 000 cases are diagnosed annually in the face of funding challenges.
BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
Diagnosis and treatment of the disease is a challenge for many people, who do not have adequate knowledge about the disease which has become undeniably one of the leading killer diseases.
“Sadly we have not realised how big a problem cancer is and yet many people are dying from it,” Cleophas Chimbetete, the resident medical consultant at Oncocare, a private cancer treatment facility in Newlands, said.
While there has been a flurry of activity around diseases like HIV and Aids, tuberculosis (TB) with major funding channelled towards these, little has been spared for cancer, which is now fast becoming a serious financial burden for the health delivery system.
“The problem is not limited to Zimbabwe, but is a global concern, the only difference being that, in developed countries, they have better treatment and early diagnosis and people are no longer dying from the disease like what is happening here,” Chimbetete said.
He said in developing countries the situation was worsening, with low treatment availability, and limited screening.
The rise has also been attributed to dietary changes and sedentary (inactive) lifestyles.
“Our lifestyles are now is ‘cancerous’ our lifestyle is increasing the risk of cancer. The sedentary where we sit and do nothing, eating a lot of processed foods. All that is increasing the burden of cancer,” Chimbetete said.
There have been many issues on cancer, which include the high treatment costs and lack of specialist personnel like oncologists in public facilities.
“At Oncocare we offer world class facilities as competitive prices and allow doctors to bring their patients here and make use of our facilities. It becomes cheaper than flying to other countries for treatment,” Chimbetete said.
The world-class cancer treatment hospital, which was established by a group of local medical practitioners, will be officially opened on April 27 this year. It seeks to work in collaboration with other stakeholders like the health ministry.