Cancer spread rapidly in Burundi, specialists warn

“Cancer is spreading dramatically in Burundi as in the world. There are many cases of cancer, “said, Jean Marie Harimenshi, Director of Bujumbura Pathology Center which diagnoses cancer on the occasion of the World Cancer Day celebrated every 4 February.

Jean Marie Harimenshi, Director of Bujumbura Pathology Center:”130 patients out of 351 screened in six months have cancer”

He regrets that the majority of cases are diagnosed late and cannot be treated in Burundi.

He says “130 patients out of 351 screened in six months have cancer.”

Mr Harimenshi indicates that the most common cancer is ‘colorectal cancer’ representing 36% and is followed by stomach cancer representing 26%.

He adds that advanced cancers are not treated in Burundi and deplores the fact that WHO has devoted its efforts on infectious diseases in developing countries but seems to ignore chronic diseases including cancer.

“The most common types of cancer in Burundi are cervical, skin, prostate, breast and rectum cancers,” says to Gabriel Nahayo, representative of Burundi Action against Cancer.

He says that these cancers can be diagnosed in Burundi. “Unfortunately, patients don’t know the warning signs to be diagnosed in time,” he says, adding that surgical treatment is available in Burundi, but chemotherapy has not yet been applied.

“Surgical treatment is only effective if the patient is screened in time,” he says. Patients who have reached the chemotherapy stage should go for treatment abroad.

“Treatments are very expensive; some patients cannot afford to pay them.” He calls on the government and WHO to provide free medical care for cancer patients.