BUJUMBURA March 20th (ABP) – Chronic non-communicable diseases such as cancer cause a lot of deaths in Burundi, said Dr. Etienne Niyonzima, Director of the National Integrated Program for Chronic Non-Communicable Disease Control (PNLIMCNT) in an interview he gave the check by ABP on Monday March 18, 2019.

Dr. Niyonzima said that in the year 2018, 8682 new cases of cancer were registered, including 6792 deaths. He added that among the 8682 cases, 4914 patients were female. He estimates that in five years, the probability would be 12,407 cases of cancer.

Regarding the types of cancer responsible for those registered cases, Dr. Niyonzima reported that cervical cancer was the leading case with 1859 cases, or 21.4%, followed by Kaposi’s sarcoma with 838 cases, a proportion of 9.7%, Prostate cancer accounted for 754 cases or 8.7%, breast cancer (634 cases or 7.3%) and esophageal cancer (520 cases or 6% of cancer patients). Other types of cancer such as liver, colon, lung cancer, and so on, reached 47%, the PNILMCNT Director says.

Dr. Niyonzima also pointed to the constraints his department faces. They include the lack of equipment, few human resources to do the screening (oncologist), no drugs, no chemotherapy for the diagnosis. Regarding the means used to confirm the recorded cases, Mr. Niyonzima said that clinically, one can screen cancer, but the confirmation must be established by isto-stological analysis in the laboratory. Following the aforementioned constraints, samples of suspected cases are to be sent to Kenya for screening, he continues to say.

Regarding how to avoid risk factors, the PNILMCNT Director suggested self-examination especially for women in order to be consulted at each sensation of tumor in the breast or any kind of cold tumor in evolution. He also suggested early screening for the detection of precancerous lesions for treatment, stop smoking or exposure to smoke, reduce the quantity of alcohol, consume fruits and vegetables because colon cancer is linked to the eating disorder, playing sports can also avoid the risk of cancer, according to Dr. Niyonzima.

The government has taken the matter in hand, a vaccine against cervical cancer is available, the crew of the Kamenge university hospital Center (CHUK) in screening equipment in atomopathological cancer and the implementation of cancer registry, that is, the registration and case tracking system.

Dr. Niyonzima also said that the National Integrated Program for Chronic non-communicable Disease Control is planning for the integration of anti-cancer drugs into the list of essential drugs used in Burundi as well as the beginning of operation of the screening center and cancer registry.

He ended his remarks by calling on the government of Burundi to mobilize financial and human resources in order to fight against chronic non-communicable diseases in general and cancer in particular. According to Dr. Niyonzima, anti-cancer and other chronic disease medications must be subsidized by the State. He also called for the establishment of a cancer center and others for non-communicable diseases, including diabetes and hypertension. There must be research studies to know the factors associated with these cases of cancer, he reiterated.

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