Shocking revelation on cancer prevalence

VICE-President Dr Philip Mpango has ordered authorities to take stern measures against people who use chemicals for embalming dead bodies to preserve fish.

According to the VP such preservatives are harmful to consumers’ health and have been associated with the increasing cancer cases in the Lake Zone, calling upon regulatory bodies to bring to an end such practice.

“I call upon all people, who use such preservatives for dead bodies to stop immediately, such practice is dangerous to people’s health …current statistics show that cancer is one of the leading cause of death in the world,” he said.

Equally, he called for further research in the area in order to get findings, which will help the government in the fight against the disease pledging that the government will provide 500m/- to support the studies.

Dr Mpango also noted that the government has been investing in infrastructure to move cancer fight services closer to the people.

According to him, statistics show that cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world, where in Tanzania approximately 42,000 cases are being reported annually.

Dr Mpango further said that, the government will dish out 3.1bn/- for procurement of cancer machines in order to guarantee provision of services in new cancer building.

He added that, the government is also set to table universal health coverage bill in Parliament to enable   many Tanzanians to have access to health services at affordable cost.

Bugabdo Hospital Director General, Dr Fabian Masaga affirmed that the data shows that Tanzania records about 45,000 new cancer cases annually.

He said that unfortunately less than 50 percent of the patients go to the health centre, when the disease has reached advanced stages making treatment more complicated.

As of now, over 55,000 cancer patients have benefited from chemotherapy and over 2,500 patients from radiation services.

“We also conduct preliminary cancer screening at our center, in which about 11,000 citizens have been  reached so far…due to an increase in cancer patients, in-patients accommodation was a serious challenge that slowed down their treatments given the fact that some are from remote areas,” said the Director.

He said Bugando is the second hospital to have radiation services, when the government implemented the first phase construction of cancer building in 2015 and installed a 5.5bn/- worth radiation machines.

According to him, the second phase that involved the patients ward construction was completed in 2020, under the support of the government, Bugando staff, stakeholders and citizens.

According to Dr Masaga the completion of the cancer centre will have numerous benefits, including attending more patients with provision of reliable services.

Other benefits are cost reduction especially private accommodation costs as they seek for the services.

Last year President Samia Suluhu Hassan emphasised on the need for scientific research to be conducted, further to establish causes of high cancer prevalence rate in the Lake Zone regions.

Gracing the 50th Anniversary of Bugando Zonal Hospital President Samia said that available data show that women are the most affected, suffering from breast and cervical cancers.

“It’s very saddening to realise that the number of cancer patients in the Lake Zone regions has continued to grow in 2019 the hospital received 1,200 cancer patients diagnosed with illness after being encouraged to take the test, the number is anticipated to shoot to 1,500 patients this year.

“Let’s direct the focus on establishing the source of cancer…why the Lake Zone Region is leading and women are the main victims of breast and cervical cancer disease,” she said.

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