Home Colorectal Cancer COLON CANCER CASES SPIKE IN ZIM newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

COLON CANCER CASES SPIKE IN ZIM newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe


 CASES of colon and other digestive cancers are on the rise
in Zimbabwe to add to the prevalence of infection-related cancers. Over the
past few years, cancers related to the digestive system have been on the rise
with a few public figures succumbing to the disease.

The late former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and of
recent Patson Dzamara succumbed to colon cancer also known as colorectal cancer

On Tuesday this week, former Zanu PF Harare provincial
commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe publicly disclosed that he had been diagnosed
with the disease.

“Sad to tell you that I have been diagnosed with colon
cancer; I advise all young men and women to go for routine colorectal cancer
screening. Pray for me as I battle against this monster. I am starting a new
journey in my life,” he tweeted.

According to the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (CAZ),
colorectal cancers are cancers that start in the colon or the rectum. They are
largely linked to Westernised diets which are usually low in fibre and high in
fat and calories.

Research in this area has had mixed results. Some studies
have found an increased risk of colon cancer in people who eat diets high in
red meat and processed meat which is linked to 20% of all colorectal cancers.

Physical inactivity also puts one at risk as well as those
who are obese.

“Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon),
which is the final part of your digestive tract,” said CAZ official Lovemore

“Most cases of colon cancer begin as small, noncancerous
(benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps.

“Over time, some of these polyps can become colon cancers.
Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. But if these polyps are
seen early, they can be removed to help prevent colon cancer.”

He explained that the colon absorbs water and salt from the
remaining food matter after it goes through the small intestine (small bowel).
The waste matter that’s left after going through the colon goes into the
rectum, the final six inches of the digestive system. It is stored there until
it passes out of the body.

Ring-shaped sphincter muscles around the anal hole keeps
stool from coming out until they relax during bowel movement.

On screening, Makurirofa said doctors recommend certain
screening tests for healthy people with no signs or symptoms in order to look
for signs of colon cancer or noncancerous colon polyps.

“Finding colon cancer at its earliest stage provides the
greatest chance for a cure. Screening has been shown to reduce risk of dying of
colon cancer. People with an average risk of colon cancer can consider
screening beginning at age 50,” Makurirofa said.

But people with an increased risk, he said, such as those
with a family history of colon cancer, should consider screening sooner.

However, Zimbabwe is still lagging behind in recommended
screening for people between 50 and 75 because this cancer wasn’t as common as
it is now. It is also very expensive and not readily accessible.

Some of the tests require specialists, with one having to
go through their general practitioners.

“Several screening tests can be used to find polyps or
colorectal cancer. Several screening options exist, each with its own benefits
and drawbacks. Talk about your options with your doctor, and together you can
decide which tests are appropriate for you,” Makurirofa said. Newsday


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.