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GOVERNMENT has prioritised cancer prevention and control in the quest to attain universal health coverage in the country, Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya has said.

About 14 million cases of cancer are recorded every year in the world making it one of the leading causes of death globally.

Speaking when he officiated at this year’s commemoration of the World Cancer Day held in Solwezi, Dr Chilufya said in Zambia, the most frequent cancers were cervical with 3,000 new cases in 2018, followed by Karposis Sarcoma at 1,700, prostate cancer at 1,230, and breast cancer at 900.

He said some of the milestones scored under the cancer prevention and control programme included setting up of 84 cervical cancer screening sites across the country and early treatment for pre-cancer abnormalities on the cervix.

More than 10,000 women were accessing screening services in chiefdoms across the country undertaken by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with traditional leaders, he said.

“In addition, Government in partnership with MERCK Foundation has trained three medical officers in super-specialities of surgical oncology, paediatric medical oncology and gynaecologic oncology offered at Tata Memorial Centre in India and the region of excellence in cancer care in India and the region around,” Dr Chilufya said.

Government, he said, would decentralise cancer treatment to the rest of the country with two new cancer treatment centres planned for construction on the Copperbelt and Southern provinces.

Dr Chilufya said that in North western Province, two cervical cancer centres had been opened at Solwezi Urban Clinic and Kalumbila Health Centre.

And Dr Chilufya said that about 30 to 50 percent of cancers could be prevented or avoided by controlling lifestyle that were known to cause cancers.

He said tobacco use, insufficient physical activity, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets among others were some of the causes that could be addressed.

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