Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Alfred Madigele has warned that the number of new cancer cases is expected to rise by almost 70% globally over the next two decades.

Madigele made his startling revelation at a dinner organised by Ladies Circle Botswana and Cancer Association of Botswana to raise funds for the construction of a children’s cancer interim home.

Speaking at Saturday’s event, the Minister said, “Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 8.8 million deaths in 2015.

“Globally, one in six deaths is due to cancer. According to publication by Ferlay in 2015 over 20 million new cancer cases are expected annually as early as 2025. Therefore we need to be proactive and ready to fight this pandemic as hard as possible.”

Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Madigele revealed an estimated 5% of deaths in Botswana in 2014 were due to cancer.

The newly appointed Health Minister further disclosed that active cancer surveillance in the country began in 1998 through the national registration, adding as of July 2017 over 21, 000 cases had been registered.

He noted the most common cancers in Botswana among adults were Kaposi sarcoma, cervical cancer, breast cancer, esophagus and non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, in many cases the cancer developed because of a T-cell exhaustion.

For his part, the Guest Speaker, President Mokgweetsi Masisi pointed out that cancer cases had increased by 33% between 2005 and 2015.

According to Masisi, around 60 new pediatric cancer cases are diagnosed annually at Princess Marina Hospital, a figure believed to be far below the actual national incidence.

“The cancer burden comes in a country where there is currently only one centre where cancer treatment (for children) is available, that is in Gaborone. This means that their caregivers could be coming from far places and they may not have a place to stay.

“It is commendable that the Cancer Association of Botswana and Ladies Circle Botswana have partnered to raise funds to construct an interim home for them. This will be a place where the sick children and their caregivers will be accommodated during treatment,” said Masisi.

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