Malawi records high cancer prevalence rate

One of the country’s development partners in the health sector (UNC) Project Malawi has called for massive investment in dealing with cancer.

According to Director of Cancer Programme at UNC Project Malawi Dr. Tamiwe Tomoka, it is worrying to observe that the country’s cancer prevalence rate is on higher side as Malawi is diagnosing 19, 000 cases annually.

She said: “At the moment, in terms of cancer prevalence we have about 19, 000 news cases every year that are being diagnosed and of these about 13, 000 are prevalent cases every year and from that as well we have about 2, 500 deaths each year on cancer.”

Dr. Tomoka has told us that most cases are reported late, which she says is one of the major contributing factors of cancer-related deaths.

“But we always say that we could be underestimating because these are the only cases that majority of them get a pathological diagnosis and enter into the cancer registry.

“But we do have some areas that do make diagnosis of cancer clinically and they don’t feed into the national cancer registry,” Tomoka said.

Responding to the request, Deputy Minister of Health Enock Phale has stressed on the need to intensify awareness on screening.

“We are working a step at a time, we are not missing yet, it’s timely, you know any intervention when it’s starting, it starts from zero and improving the number.
“You may wish to know that we are also intensifying an issue of awareness at least we create demand, with that we know we will be improving as required,” expressed optimism Phale.

Statistics from the African Institute for Development Policy (Afidep) show that Malawi has the highest rate of cervical cancer worldwide, estimated at 75.9 per 100,000 population.

It is the second common cancer overall (25.4 percent) of all cancers in the country and the most common (45.4 percent) cancer among women in Malawi.

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