Cancer: rising epidemic in Zimbabwe

Five years ago HIV/AIDS was the well-known virus that caused many deaths in Zimbabwe and the world at large. But cancer has become an emerging disease in our country, causing many more deaths in recent years.

Cancer, like HIV/AIDS, has no cure. My grave concern is that, while HIV/AIDS can be greatly managed by people being more responsible and a change of the moral fabric of society, cancer can not. It is not passed from one person to the other – which should reasonably mean that its prevalence should be more reasonable than HIV/AIDS.

However, since the beginning of the year 2011 most if not all of the deaths in Zimbabwe that I have personally heard about are as a result of cancer. Of particular concern is that the cancers seem to affect all age groups and genders. This brings into question whether these cancer cases have a similar underlying cause that needs to be investigated.

Because of the lack of basic commodities and the denial of basic socio-economic rights to the majority of Zimbabweans for more than a decade now, many people (including myself) resorted to buying things like cooking oil from the black market. Sometimes this cooking oil was black in colour and contained in dirty bottles. Washing soaps and bathing soaps ended up being made by people from their backyards in a bid to survive. I witnessed people getting water to use from sewers and drinking water from shallow boreholes they had made or rusting water pipes.

Stress is another possible cause of cancer. These are just a few of the many examples of the suffering endure by many Zimbabweans that could have contributed to the rising cancer epidemic.

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