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THE HIGH RATE OF CANCER IN MAURITIUS

THE HIGH RATE OF CANCER IN MAURITIUS

Cancer is on the increase in Mauritius. Such a disease has affected the general health of many people, especially those living in Industrial and urban areas where there are pollution of all sorts. Also, many health experts reckon that one of the major causes of cancer is pesticides and other chemical substances that planters or crop growers use in vegetables and fruits they grow in their fields.

Every year the National Cancer Registry registers 2000 new cases of cancer. There are hundreds of Mauritians who died of cancer annually. Women are more vulnerable by this sickness in Mauritius. 60% cases of cancer are recorded among women.

This tendency is explained by the fact that it is the breast cancer which is more numerous and spreading in this country. The number of new cases of breast cancer has passed from 569 in 2015 to reach 732 in 2016. For the same period, the number has passed from 846 to 1184 in the woman sides and from 638 to 873 in the man’s sides.

The other types of cancer, which are spreading more and common in our country, are cancer of the intestine, of the prostate gland, of the cervix, of the lungs  There is also a tendency that cancer of the blood (leukemia) and lymphoma are on the increase in Mauritius. From 2015 to 2016, 510 cases of leukemia have been been recorded among men and 349 among women.

As for the number of lymphoma, it was from 150 among men and 110 among women during the same period. Regarding cancer of the throat, the number registered from 2015 to 2016 is from 88 cases, in which 61 among men. As for oral cancer (lips, mouth, tongue, pharynx and others), they have affected 249 men and 111 women.

Moreover the Health experts concerned tried to say that the rate of cancer across the world is going up. “The situation is certainly alarming in other countries. For example cancer is much less in our country than other countries such as France, United Kingdom, India, Singapore, South Africa, China, and Malaysia.

The National Cancer Registry has also done a study on cancer on certain areas. It has shown that new cases of cancer have been registered principally to those inhabitants of Plaine Wilhems, 37.7% followed by Port-Louis, 15.5%, which shows the “urbanization” of cancer. It means this malady affects also the inhabitants living in towns. “Is this the result of air-pollution that causes this? Is this the mode of life of the inhabitants that causes cancer? Difficult to say?” replied a cancer pathologist. He said that this phenomenon does not only affect Mauritius but several other countries. The high level rate of cancer is a world matter.

The cost involved to treat cancer patients is very high. Individuals cannot afford to have private treatment. Therefore they have to rely on the government to treat them in hospitals.

In view of the above, there is an urgent need for immediate setting up of at least one hospital which can focus on the treatment of cancer. To treat a cancer patient in general hospital is very inappropriate. The government is therefore requested to take immediate action to convert one of our hospitals into a specialized cancer hospital.

BY AHMAD MACKY

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