Health experts have urged Government to avail a cancer prevention and treatment budget to lessen the burden on cancer patients as treatment is beyond the reach of many.
Veteran oncologist Anna Mary Nyakabau said it was crucial for Government to avail funds to cancer through the national budget.
« The costs associated with diagnosis, treatment and management of the disease are very high, » she said.
« If Government allocates funds to cancer treatment, very few deaths will be recorded in the country. Most patients do not afford to raise money needed for the treatment. »
Dr Nyakabau said cancer would not be eliminated, but people could take preventive measures and seek treatment.
« Cancer should be prevented to lessen its burden on individuals and the nation. Prevention starts with early detection tests and cancer detected early is dealt with easily and cheaply, » she said.
She said decentralisation of treatment centres would give opportunity to all cancer patients to access the services.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death and in Zimbabwe accounting for an average of 7 000 new cases and over 1 500 deaths each year.
There is a wide gap in diagnosis and therapy access in developing countries.
Zimbabwe will be introducing mandatory screening for cancer in certain age groups as a prevention and control strategy for the world’s second leading cause of deaths.
Government recently said it would embark on training of oncologists and oncology nurses at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals and a mass immunisation programme for human papilloma virus, targeting girls aged between 10 and 14 years, to protect them against development of cervical cancer.