‘1 400 women die of cancer annually’

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© THE United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has raised concerns over the high number of deaths associated with cervical cancer in the country, saying there is need for women to go for screening early. This comes as statistics have shown that over 2 270 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Zimbabwe annually with a mortality rate of 64 percent.

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In a statement, the UNFPA is urging women to go for screening in an effort to reduce the number of deaths associated with that type of cancer.
“Cervical cancer kills at least  1 450 women in Zimbabwe annually. It is important to be screened early to prevent such deaths.
“UNFPA is supporting the ministry of Health and Child Care to provide services for women at over 100 health facilities countrywide,” UNFPA said.

Studies have revealed that the burden and mortality rate of cervical cancer is most likely to be higher than the recorded statistics because some cases go unaccounted in areas that have poor access to health facilities such as rural areas.

According to the Health and Child Care ministry’s 2018 National Cancer Prevention and Control Strategy for Zimbabwe, cancer has remained low on the agenda of non-communicable diseases in terms of funding.

“Of those who do report, the majority are already at an advanced stage of disease, due to limited access to screening services.
“The current cancer treatment and palliation services are unable to meet the existing demand,” the report said.

However, amid the concerns, efforts have been made in the fight against various types of cancer in the country. First Lady and health ambassador Auxillia Mnangagwa recently launched a cancer screening camp which was equipped by the Chinese government at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.

Mnangagwa said there was hope that the camp was going to reduce cancer deaths through early detection, especially in Harare which has the highest number of women who are diagnosed with the disease.

“Harare tops the number of women found with cancer, accounting for 13 percent of all cancer deaths. 

“There is a possibility of eliminating cancer with more sensitive screening also at our disposal,” she said.

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