At least 22,000 Ugandans succumbed to different cancers over the last one year. This is according to records from the Uganda Cancer Institute head office in Kampala.
The Kampala Cancer Register shows that 32,617 new cases were recorded in 2018. This indicatest that at least 350 new cancer patients were detected per 100,000 people compared to 2008 when the figure stood 250 per 100,000 people.
The most common cancers included cancer of the cervix, breast cancer, and kaposis sarcoma, cancer of the stomach, lymphoma and liver cancer in women. In males, prostate cancer, cancer of the esophagus, liver and lymphoma, were highly detected while leukemia, Burkitt's lymphoma, kidney and sarcomas were most common in children.
Dr Jackson Orem, the director of Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) said that the high number of deaths was majorly due to late diagnosis.
"When cancer is on the increase, it means so are the deaths because, at any one time, it is estimated that 80 per cent of all cancer patients die due to late diagnosis," he said, adding that 30 per cent of all cancer cases are curable if detected early.
Dr Orem says the most common causes of cancers are in infections that most times go untreated. The head of the non-communicable diseases unit at the Health ministry Dr Gerald Mutungi said government is now promoting early diagnosis of cancer through training health workers all health center IIIs on cancer detection.
To deal with the increase in cancer patients, UCI is also set to have two more functional radiotherapy machines by the end of 2019. One of the machines was a donation from India while the other was procured from the United State of America. Dr Orem said three functional machines will be in the country by May 2019.