‘Copious fried meat, colon cancer tied’

15Mar 2019
James Kandoya
The Guardian
‘Copious fried meat, colon cancer tied’

THE Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) has warned against overconsumption of smoked food especially the popular grilled meat as it is linked to the increase of colon cancer in the country in recent years.

The institute says that smoked foods, notably roast meats, contribute 18 per cent of all cases of bowel cancer because they tend to form hydrocarbons that are insoluble when consumed and may later lead to the disease.

The ORCI Director of Prevention Services, Dr Crispin Kahesa told The Guardian in an interview yesterday that the burden of colon cancer, also known as colorectal cancer, has increased six-fold for the past five years, affecting mostly people aged between 40 to 45 years.

He said that the rampant disease was an emerging cancer variety which has now climbed to eleventh position am0ng leading cancers, from the 20th position it ranked previously, among 200 cancer types.

In Tanzania, cervical cancer ranks as the leading cancer type in Tanzania, followed by Kaposi sarcoma, breast cancer, oesophageal or throat cancer, head and neck, lymphoma and leukemia (blood cancer).

Others are urinary bladder, skin, eye, prostate, and liver cancers.

In the past three years, the number of people diagnosed with colorectal cancer increased from 146 to 300 patients in the years 2015 to 2018.

Dr Kahesa hinted that men were affected mostly due to their food consumption behavior lem.

“The institute dedicates March as colorectal cancer awareness month to let the public know about the disease which keeps on increasing,” he said.

“The pace of increase is an alert signal to think of intervention to prevent as well as to treat it as soon as possible,” he stated.

People living in major urban areas were prone to get the disease due to their unhealthy lifestyle and lack of exercise.

 Among the regions, Dar es Salaam was leading followed by Coast region, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Tanga, Dodoma and Morogoro all accounting 61 percent of all colorectal cancer patients.

The director had a message that people should take regular screening to detect the problem early as well as be away from the consumption of smoked food, as preventive measures against the disease, he said.

Furthermore, the society should throw away smoking of cigarettes and excessive consumption of alcohol, especially the men.

Among diagnosed patients, 90 per cent come for screening at advanced stages 3 and 4 where their living period lasts for short periods and then die.

Most of them receive palliative care treatment and not a cure due to the advanced state of the disease despite the fact that the disease is preventable.

The director explained that due to increase in the number of sufferers, ORCI has taken a number of measures including inciting public awareness to scale down the problem.

According to a research article published in the Journal of Cancer Epidemiology about two years ago, colorectal cancer is a growing public health concern with increasing rates in countries with previously known low incidence.

The study determined patterns and distribution of CRC in Tanzania and identified hot spots in case distribution.

Meat prepared at high temperatures and well done produces more heterocyclic amines (hydrocarbons) compared to that prepared at lower temperatures

On July 6,  last year,  the Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, the Elderly and Children, Ummy Mwalimu  said that to enhance cancer treatment at ORCI, the government  had allocated 7bn/- for the institute with a view to accelerating cancer prevention, treatment services.

 “When cancer is at an advanced stage, it is difficult to treat it. This increases the burden on the government because plenty of money is spent on treating them. This can be avoided if early cancer diagnosis is conducted,” she asserted.

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