Zimbabwe recorded at least 7 000 new cancer cases in 2016, an increase of 2 000 from the previous year, an independent survey says.
Cancer specialist Dr Nixjoen Mapesa said the most prevalent cancers in women in the country were cervical and breast cancers, while prostate cancer and Kaposi sarcoma were most prevalent in men.
Dr Mapesa said this in an interview with The Sunday Mail on the sidelines of the recent Zimbabwe Cancer Network launch in Harare.
The specialist said the absence of a reliable cancer database could mean more people had cancers but were not documented.
“The 7 000 (new cancer cases recorded last year) could just be a tip of the iceberg since the majority of the people cannot afford to go for screening,” said Dr Mapesa.
“What it means is that the graph is going up and many people are suffering and dying in silence.”
According to the Zimbabwe Cancer Registry, which was last updated in 2014, there are 2 557 cancer cases in the country with 53 percent being women.
Speaking at their launch, ZCN chairperson Mr Donance Kangausaru called on Government to declare cancer a national disaster.
Mr Kangausaru – who has been living with HIV for more than 25 years and recently underwent successful treatment for cancer – also said the State should ensure access to healthcare.
“We are appealing to the Government to take care of cancer patients just like what it does with HIV and Aids patients who are given ARVs (antiretroviral drugs),” said Mr Kangausaru in a speech read on his behalf by his daughter Ms Mitchelle.
“We feel that cancer should be declared a national disaster. With early detection and treatment, cancer van be cured,” he added.