The Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) revealed that a total number of 3587 Namibians were diagnosed with cancer in 2015. This is an increase of 283 cases when compared with those diagnosed since 2014.
Studies conducted in 2002 by The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that more than 14.1 million new cases of cancer occur annually and that more than half of them occur in developing countries.
In an interview with The Patriot earlier this week, CAN Senior Resident Nurse, Christy Kavetuna noted that in 2014 in the Erongo Region 200 people were diagnosed with cancer, 153 in Ohangwena Region, 631 in Oshana Region, 94 in Otjikoto Region and 98 in Omusati Region.
In 2015 those diagnosed in the Erongo Region were 177, 114 in Ohangwena Region, 650 in Oshana Region, 103 in Otjikoto Region and 83 in Omusati Region.
Kavetuna explained that the numbers have shown an increase in both the Oshana and Omusati Regions during the two years for both men and women.
The most prevalent cancer recorded in women was breast cancer, with 39 % being from Omaheke, 37.2 % Hardap , 35.8 % Erongo, 34.4% Otjozondjupa, 32.6 % Kharas, 30.2 % Khomas, 25.7% Omasuti, 24.9% Oshana and 22.1% Kavango regions, and the second most common cancer, cervical cancer recorded 24.4 % in Oshikoto, 21.4% in Kunene, 21 % in Ohangwena and 12.7% in the Zambezi regions.
Prostate cancer in men was recorded as the most prevalent where the rate increased to 37.6 per 100 000 from 23.5 previously.
She further explained that various other cancers dominant in men are Kaposi sarcoma with an 18.4 % diagnosis, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 4.8 %, Eye 5.0 %, Lung/trachea/bronchus 3.4 %, Larynx 3.1%, Colon 2.7 % and Liver 2.6 %.
For women Cervical cancer dominates with a 19.4 % rate, Kaposi sarcoma 8.8 %, Eye 4.0 %, Ovary 3.0 %, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 2.8 %, Corpus uteri 2.1 % and Lung/trachea/bronchus 1.8 %.
Kavetuna further noted that in 2014 roughly 71 children were diagnosed with cancer. In 2015, 133 were diagnosed proving an increase in childhood cancer.
“The numbers are quite alarming because it means that there is an increase in cancer patients, however at the same time it’s a good indication because the numbers show that people are more aware of cancer now than they were in previous years. Thus they are able to get treatment before the cancer cells develop to the extent where it cannot be cured.
In addition, Kavetuna further explained that CAN annually goes on a cancer outreach program and have recently kick start their first outreach in the year in the Hardap region where more people came for screening compared to previous years.
“The numbers of men in the Hardap Region increased with a total of 60 percent and there was an 80 percent increase in women who turned out”.
Last year the Namibian National Cancer Registry (NNCR) published reports on cancer diagnoses that were recorded between the years 1969 to 2014 with a total number of 31 788 cancer cases reported.
Statistics for the years 2016 and 2017 are however not available as reports are still being finalised.