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PROSTATE cancer is now the leading cancer among Zimbabwean men and now warrants a serious epidemiological investigation, the Zimbabwe Cancer Registry (ZCR) has revealed.

In its annual report for 2011, ZCR said prostate cancer is now undisputedly the most frequently occurring cancer among Zimbabwean men of all races.

In 2010, it was observed that prostate cancer overtook Kaposi sarcoma (KS) to become the leading cancer in the male population of Harare city. In 2011, the dominance of cancer of the prostate extended to national data.

“We believe that this development warrants serious epidemiological investigation,” read the report.

Prostate cancer accounted for 16,5% of the new cancers registered in 2011 followed by Kaposi sarcoma (16,3%) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (9,3%).

The registrar for ZCR Eric Chokunonga said in populations where similar observations were made, this would have been the result of introduction of mass screening programmes for prostate cancer.

“Sadly, this has not been the case in Zimbabwe,” he said.

In Zimbabwe diagnosis of cancers of all types remains a challenge as most people still do not have access to appropriate information and many do not go for regular screening.

While women have embraced available programmes like Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Cerviography (Viac), men are still trudging behind in getting screened for cancer.

Some of the signs for prostate cancer, according to the Cancer Research UK, are: constant urge to rush to the toilet to pass urine, passing urine more often than usual, especially at night and difficulty in passing urine.

However, there are healthy foods that can help protect men from getting prostate cancer.

According to Elizabeth Chanakira Cancer Trust, lycopene-rich foods are best in protecting one from the disease.

Lycopene is an antioxidant that is commonly found in fruits and vegetables that are red in colour like tomatoes, watermelon and guavas. Chillis of all sorts are also lycopene powerhouses.

In an interesting study carried out in Australia, it was suggested that those who had lost most of their hair by 40 were far more likely to develop the disease in their 50s or 60s.

Meanwhile, HIV-related cancers like Kaposi sarcoma (KS), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and squamous cell carcinomas of the conjunctiva continue to dominate.

Although KS has been on the decline in recent years due to the increasing availability of anti-retroviral therapy (ART), this has not been the case with NHL.

The late sungura musician Tongai Moyo succumbed to NHL which has remained one of the least known, but slowly becoming more prevalent.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard