Cancer experts have warned that having late supper which makes people go to bed immediately after heavy meals is a major cause of colon cancer among Ugandans. Although not the commonest type of cancer, Colon cancer has risen significantly in recent years with cases numbering in their hundreds.
Health experts from Mulago National Referral Hospital have revealed that the number of cancer cases in Uganda have risen by more rapidly 0 percent over the past three years, effectively making it the country’s fastest growing epidemic.
And to make matters worse, only 1 out of every five cancer patients in Uganda or 20% of victims, is lucky to survive the grim reaper.
Data from the Uganda Cancer Institute that was presented at a recent media breakfast, shows that new cancer cases have jumped from significantly over the past three years from 2015 when 3500 new cases were recorded in a single year to 5060 recorded in 2017.
From 3500 cancer cases in 2015, new cancer cases jumped by 500 to 4000 in 2016. The situation became worse with 1060 addition new cases being recorded in 2017, a 26% jump in new cancer cases.
Within just six months gone, the Uganda Cancer Institute has recorded 3000 new cases already.
has risen by over is rising at an alarming rate with over Every year over 500 new cancer cases are diagnosed where 10% of cases are childhood cancers and out of 100 people diagnosed with cancer at Uganda Cancer Institute every year only 20 survive in year.
The rapid increase in new cases is something that worries the Executive Director of the Uganda Cancer Institute Dr. Jackson Orem.
Dr. Orem said: “For any disease to appear dangerous we normally focus on the incidence rate (new cancer cases) and mortality rate (number of deaths). And for cancer, the incidence rate is big which is over 500 new cases every year. But the most dangerous and overwhelming is the mortality rate, which is 80%.”
Orem blamed the high mortality rate to late diagnosis of the disease among most patients.
“We need to reduce this incidence and mortality rate. Most of the cancer patients we receive come when it’s too late,” decried.
Perhaps more worrying, as well is the fact that an even bigger number are believed to be dying silently from the disease without them reporting to government health facilities where data on the disease can be captured. Lack of accurate data on Cancer and generally on Non-communicable diseases in Uganda, is a fact that has been identified by most health reports.
According to one study described as Globacon on the burden of cancer in Uganda conducted in 2012, it estimated that cancer prevalence – the number of patients was around 29,380 patients.
Cervical cancer accounts where cervix Uteri and Kaposi Sarcoma are leading cancers with 13% each while the 47% are unknown.
Why cancer is increasing in Uganda?
Dr. Orem attributed the increase in new cancer cases to increased publicity by the media which has enabled people to report to health centers as opposed to previously when the disease would be considered as witchcraft.
According to a study by Henry Wabinga and others, titled “Trends in the incidence of cancer in Kampala, Uganda 1991-2010.” HIV/AIDS has been one of the reasons for the increase in cancer.
The increase in urban population which is associated with lack of exercise as well as increased consumption of sugar, have added to the burden of cancer.
Dr. Diana Atwine, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health urged people to go for regular checkups as this increases their chances of surviving the disease by ensuring that it is detected early.
“Once cancer is detected at an early stage, it can be treated and be cured. Women should go for regular pap smear to detect whether there signs of cervical cancer and most people take less consideration on what must be eaten and what must not be,” said Atwine.
Dr. Noleb Mugisha, head of community Cancer program added: “One of the things our society must know is that increased physical inactivity has also contributed to an increase of cancer cases in Uganda.
Noleb also castigated the habit of going to bed immediately after eating supper as a dangerous practice as this ensures that the food takes longer to break down.
“Most Ugandans eat supper at late hours and immediately go for sleep. This contributes 16% the chances of getting cancer, the better way is to eat earlier and relax for 2 hours before one goes to sleep. However people should know that some cancers are genetic.” added Dr. Noleb
Increased consumption of aflatoxins (food-born chemicals closely associated with moulds in ground nuts, Mukene, maize and Bushera as well as diary products, are some of the other causes of liver cancer.