A Malawi Cancer Registry (MCR) database has indicated that Kaposi sarcoma is the most common type of cancer among men reaching up to 50 percent of the cases registered. The database collected between 1985 and 2010 has recorded 60,000 cases of cancer in Malawi in which 32,000 were women and 28,000 were men.
It says out of over ten common types of cancer in Malawi, Kaposi sarcoma which is associated with HIV and Aids is the most common in males at 50.7 percent, 41.3 percent in adults aged between 15 and 59 years of age and 34.1 percent in both sexes.
In females and children, Kaposi sarcoma is second at 21.1 and 15.0 respectively while cancer of the cervix and non- Hodgkin Lymphoma are topping the list in females and children respectively.
"Kaposi Sarcoma is the most common among the types of cancer in the country because it is related to HIV and Aids.
Most of the patients who suffer from this type of cancer are HIV positive," said Head of Non-Communicable Diseases NCDs and Mental Health Unit in the Ministry of Health Dr. Beatrice Mwagomba.
Mwagomba said that the data collection included people from as young as 15 years, who are sexually active.
The cancer of the urinary bladder, kidney and lung are least common while cancer of the cervix is second common followed by cancer of the oesophagus.
Magomba said the Ministry of Health recognises cancer as one of the priority noncommunicable diseases of public health importance.
"The current Health Sector MWAGOMBA—It's of public concern Officials, MP not aware of forest plunder Strategic Plan for 2011 to 2016
has included NCDs including cancer in the Essential Health Package (EHP) conditions. The ministry has further established a unit responsible for NCDs and an Action Plan for all major NCDs is being drafted," she said.
According to Medical Director of Malawi Cancer Registry, Dr Charles Dzamalala, cancer burden was initially masked by the degree of infectious diseases in Malawi,
but added that the aggressive interventions for control of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, STIs, respiratory infections (pneumonia) means that the cancer burden has been put into second place.
"The Ministry of Health now has a working strategy for cancer control, through the newly instituted Non Communicable Diseases programme which will address issues of all NCDs, cancer being one of them," Dzamalala said.
Head of the African Cancer Registry Network (AFCRN), Dr. Donald Maxwell Parkin, said use of population-based cancer registries in which Malawi was among the first countries to establish will help to assist in establishment of public health priorities and to be a source of material for studies of the causes of cancer.