According to physicians, cancer is identified at a late stage because people put off getting screened.
Dr. David Miti, a medical expert at UMC Victoria Hospital, said the main difficulty is a lack of effective sensitization regarding frequent screening, which allows for early detection, in an interview with Monitor.
More than 70% of tumors are identified in stages three and four, which are incurable, according to the National Cancer Institute.
“In most situations, stage one malignancies can be removed, and recuperation takes a year; after that, the patient is proclaimed cancer-free after a year.”
Stages three and four cancer are incurable and remission is impossible; stage four cancer indicates the cancer has spread throughout the body, and the treatment is mostly palliative care to keep the disease under control.” Dr. Miti explained.
According to Dr Nixon Niyonzima, the chief of research and training at Uganda Cancer Institute, 34,000 new cases are documented each year, with 22,000 of those losing the battle due to detection in stages three and four.
Dr. Miti noted high screening costs at private institutions and long lines at government facilities as factors affecting frequent screening. He also chastised those who seek herbal medicine first and then turn to hospitals when their condition worsened.
The medical officer expressed concern about the rise in breast cancer cases, noting that people under the age of 30 are also at risk.
“Most young girls will feel a lump in their breast but keep quiet about it or ignore it because they are too embarrassed to tell anyone or have it checked out, and before they know it, it has progressed from non-cancerous to cancerous,” he explained.
He also disclosed that women who take a long time to give birth have a higher risk of cancer.
Dr. Moses Mpairwe of the Uganda Cancer Institute, an oncologist surgeon, urged people to be more conscious of their lifestyle choices.
“This entails eating well, which means eating a well-balanced diet rich in greens and vegetables and avoiding processed foods such as sausages, carbonated beverages, and meats.”
Maintain active, exercise regularly, work out to keep your body in shape, and eliminate smoking and drinking,” he said.
Dr. Miti also urged people to stay away from sources of unnecessary radiation, such as telephone masts and X-rays.
According to the World Health Organisation, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths, or one in six deaths, in 2018.