Catch them young — Cancer specialist

HARARE - Government needs to shift focus if the fight against cancer is to be won, a health specialist has said.

Inam Chitsike, a medical doctor, said government’s failure to prioritise the prevention of cancer in children was worsening a scourge that has hit the country.

Chitsike said the ministry of Health and Child Welfare is doing little as it has no funds set aside to fight cancer in children yet the disease is highly curable among the zero to 14 years age group.

“There is need for awareness because although mortality rate is low, there are children dying. So awareness will lead to the initiation of early detection, helping reduce the cancer in children,” she said.

She said treating cancer will help reduce the number of children dying from HIV-related cancers.

Enhance Hungwe, who was diagnosed with cancer when he was 10 years old, said parents should act quickly to avoid losing their children to cancer.

“I felt a pain in my abdomen and I told my mother who acted immediately. After tests we were told that I have cancer and had to go for treatment because it had been detected early.

“If my mother had not acted quickly I would have been history right now,” said Hungwe.

He now works with cancer specialists to educate, inform and give hope to families with children diagnosed with cancer.

Official figures show that at least eight percent of under-fives in Zimbabwe  die from cancer.

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