Cancer one of the top causes of death in Nam: Pohamba

WINDHOEK: First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba has indicated that cancer is among the top causes of death in Namibia.

The First Lady announced this on Monday, the second day of the eighth ‘Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa’ conference underway here.

“Cancer joins other non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory illnesses, which are amongst the top 10 diseases and top 15 causes of death in Namibia,” she said.

She stated that the burden of reproductive tract cancers namely, cervical, breast and prostate have been increasing in Namibia, adding that breast cancer and cervical cancer are the most common types of cancers. Prostate cancer is now also proving to be challenging.

The First Lady indicated that the Namibian Government has made progress in the capacity building of health workers in screening for cervical cancer and breast cancer through pap smears and breast examination at health facilities.

She also she noted that the Health Ministry is in the process of introducing Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination for young girls.

The vaccine helps to prevent HPV, which causes most cervical cancer.

“We all know that prevention is better than cure and we have heard that some cancers are treatable and curable if detected early. “If we are all aware of this, why should women and men still continue to suffer and die from preventable conditions in our countries?” she stated.

Pohamba said African countries need to maximise activities that promote prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“There is a need for an aggressive strategic framework and a coordinated approach for prevention and control of cervical, breast and prostate cancers, and a strategic framework that can introduce a continuum, starting from prevention, through early detection, treatment and palliative care,” she stressed.

The conference was organised by the Office of the First Lady under the theme ‘Moving forward to end cervical cancer by 2030: Universal access to Cervical Cancer Prevention’.

Over 1 500 delegates from different African countries, Cabinet Ministers and Parliamentarians, as well as health experts are attending the conference.

It started on Sunday and ends Tuesday.