OCEAN Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) has intensified efforts in the fight against cancer by introducing cancer screening package with the aim of diagnosing and preventing the deadly disease at early stages.
Through the package, patients will undergo screening of various types of cancers like cervical, breast, prostate, Kaposi sarcoma, thyroid and skin to people with albinism, leukemia, bladder, colorectal, lymphoma and ovary.
ORCI Director of Cancer Prevention Services Dr Crispin Kahesa said recently in Dar es Salaam that the move was an intervention that will enable patients who go for cancer screening to undergo tests of various types of cancers.
As the nation joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Cancer Day on Monday, he called upon the public to go for regular health checkups because early detection and treatment of the disease will help to save lives.
Dr Kahesa said initially the institute used to screen only three cancers—breast, cervical and prostate—but it was currently screening and treating 11 cancers. He said cancer was still a huge problem and it can be fought if people will build a culture of going for regular health checkups and adhere to healthy lifestyle behaviours.
Dr Kahesa detailed that statistics indicate that cervical cancer among women was the leading killer followed by breast cancer while Kaposi sarcoma was leading among men followed by aesophagus.
On cancer situation in the country, Dr Kahesa said that approximately 52,000 people were being diagnosed with cancer,annually, adding that about 70 per cent of diagnosed victims visit the hospital while their ailments are already at an advanced stages.
He further detailed that according to World Health Organisation (WHO) the global cancer burden is estimated to have risen to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018.
The number of global cancer burden was projected to increase to 24 million new cases by 2035 if appropriate measures are not taken to combat the disease.
The Director of Planning at ORCI Daudi Maneno said that the institute decided to extend cancer screening coverage in order to provide prevention services to more people before they reach risk stages.
“This service has been positively received by both public and private institutions,” he said. He further said that the hospital has also strengthened cancer prevention services by introducing Hepatitis B vaccination because people with chronic viral disease are at high risk of developing liver cancer.
Mr Maneno also said that in the past three years his institute has also extended outreach services to eight regions from three thus making the services accessible to more people.
Speaking on the government’s plans to combat the deadly disease, Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elders and Children Ummy Mwalimu said the ministry will focus on awareness campaigns to have more people going for testing.
She noted that cancer treatment has now been improved, with increased supply of drugs since the government increased the budget for cancer medicines from 700m/- in 2015/16 to 10bn/- in this financial year.
The minister declared further that the government plans to launch the National Cancer Treatment Guidelines this year.
The document will be used countrywide from the regional level hospitals as a tool to guide cancer testing and treatment services.