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Zim records 5 000 new cancer cases each year

Social Welfare

CHINA ZIMBABWE EXCHANGE CENTRE (CZEC) last week conducted an intensive cancer awareness campaign as nations across the globe marked World Cancer Day, which is celebrated annually on February 4.Cancer has wreaked havoc across the world, claiming 18 million people annually. While two in four people in the developed world survive cancer for 10 years or more due to advanced research around the disease, in Zimbabwe, over 5 000 new cancer cases are diagnosed (all types) annually.Experience has, however, shown that this is just the tip of an iceberg as many cancers are not captured by the routine National Health Information System because the patients do not present for treatment early. Some cancer deaths are also not registered, while a majority of cancer cases are presented when they are already at an advanced stage due to limited screening services. The current cancer treatment services in the country are unable to meet the existing demand. CAECERC said on one of its visits to Tafara high-density suburb in Harare, it realised that families of those that had been diagnosed with the malignant disease were reeling in poverty as they could not afford medication.“We went to commemorate the World Cancer Day in Tafara with a family that had been affected by cancer. This years’ Cancer Day was running under the theme Close the Care Gap. As an organisation, we saw that there was power in knowledge,” CAECERC project manager Rudo Manomano said. “It would be a good thing if everyone makes an effort to talk about cancer, and increase awareness on the fact that early detection saves lives. We believe together, we can make a difference in reducing the global impact of cancer. We also discovered that the family sometimes could not afford to pay US$8 to buy things that were needed at the hospital.” There have been calls for strong political, technical and practical leadership as well as significant investment in terms of infrastructure and equipment, human resources, technologies, medicines and vaccines to deal with cancer in the country.“We spent the day cooking and cleaning with the family and engaging them in conversations of how their lives have been affected after the family’s breadwinner was diagnosed with prostate cancer,” Manomano said. “The organisation brought with it groceries for the family so as to try to ease their budget while taking care of someone with cancer. We then took time to go into each and every household in that street educating people about cancer and how they could take a stand in fighting cancer.” She urged stakeholders to make adequate investments in the fight against cancer in the country.

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