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Cancer cases on the rise among women

Discussion in 'JF Doctor' started by BAK, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Oct 2, 2012
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    [TD="class: contentheading, width: 100%"]Cancer cases on the rise among women [/TD]
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    [TD="class: createdate"] Monday, 01 October 2012 21:44 [/TD]
    By Zephania Ubwani
    The Citizen Reporter

    Tanzania has the highest cervical cancer rates in East Africa, partly due to high HIV/Aids and failure to have early check-ups, it was announced here yesterday.

    Arusha District Commissioner John Mongella said at the start of free cancer clinics here that the proportion of women at risk is expected to be high as HIV infection is associated with the rapid advance of cervical cancer.The World Health Organisation reports that 40.7 out of every 100,000 women have cervical cancer in Tanzania while the rate is 25.7 and 16 in the rest of East Africa and the world, respectively.

    “The situation is complicated by the high prevalence of HIV, which is estimated to be eight per cent in the general population,’ Mr Mongella said as he launched the four-day campaign. The breast and cervical cancer awareness campaign has been organised by the East, Central and Southern Africa (ECSA) Health Community, an intergovernmental health body based here, jointly with local partners. Cancer illness and death rates have been rising worldwide, according to Mr Mongella. He attributed the rising cases of cancers to changing lifestyles and environmental factors.

    It is estimated that about 40,000 people are diagnosed with different kinds of cancer every year in Tanzania, out of whom 30,000 die for lack of proper treatment or late detection of the disease.

    Treatment of the disease through surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy—including hormone therapy or a combination of these—is possible, especially in the early stages of infection. However, treatment has eluded many cancer patients in Africa because they do not seek health care services until the disease has advanced to stages too complex for treatment.

    “Cancer is treatable only if detected in its early stages and proper medication is used,” Mr Mongella said as he launched the campaign outside the regional commissioner’s office. “Failure to do so results in death.”

    An estimated 16 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed every year, 70 per cent of them in the developing countries, according to data from the World Health Organisation. “Lack of awareness, late detection and scarcity of treatment equipment and facilities in Tanzania are the main cause of the prevailing high death rate,” Mr Mongella pointed out.

    Medical experts say most of the patients go to hospital at the last stage of the disease when healing is not possible. They end up on pain-reducing drugs as they wait to die. Some experts have hinted that cancer is killing more people than malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids.

    The Arusha regional medical officer, Ms Frida Mokiti, attributed the growth of cancer to changing lifestyles such as smoking, drug abuse, excessive consumption of alcohol and unsafe sex.

    ECSA director-general Dr Josephine Mburu-Mbae said the four-day clinics have been organised by the regional health body in collaboration with the AAR Health Services, Kibo Palace Hotel, Skytel and others.
    “This will be an opportunity for the people of Arusha to know their health status as far as cancer is concerned,” she told reporters. “The services are free of charge.”

    According to her, this will be the first time the regional health body is offering free clinics on cancer. The screening will be on for four days. The focus is on cervical and breast cancer,

    which mainly affect women of child bearing age, and are leading a raft of cancerous diseases in Tanzania.
    Lack of data on cancer cases in Tanzania and within the region undermines efforts to address the situation. “The number of people with cancers is increasing globally,” she pointed out. “We are now beginning to deal with the policies and push the governments to act on this anomaly by convincing them to place cancer among health priorities.”

    Cervical cancer mainly affects women and starts in the lower part of the uterus, and usually develops very slowly. Sexual habits and practices raise the risk of this type of cancer.

    Experts say risky sexual practices include having sex at an early age, having multiple sexual partners and also having multiple partners who participate in high risk sexual activities. Breast cancer originates from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts and the lobule that supply the ducts with milk. It occurs in humans and other mammals. While the overwhelming majority of human cases occur in women, male breast cancer also occurs.

    Worldwide breast cancer comprises 22.9 per cent of all cancers in women. In 2008, breast cancer caused 458,503 deaths in the world, or 13.7 per cent of cancer deaths among women.