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Towards earlier cancer diagnosis in Congo

Drinking arsenic-contaminated water for a long time may cause severe skin lesions that may lead to skin cancer. Persistent arsenic intake may also cause cancer of the bladder.
(Naser Siddiqui/UNICEF Bangladesh)

An NGO in the Republic of Congo has launched a campaign aimed at reducing the often fatally late diagnosis of cancer, which affects more than 7,000 people in the central African state.

“One in five children with cancer survives and 90 percent [of child cancer] deaths are due to late diagnosis,” Jean Félix Peko, a doctor in Brazzaville University Hospital’s oncology department, told IRIN.

The campaign, launched by the Calissa Ikama Foundation, aims to raise awareness among politicians, the media, business leaders, diplomats and civil society in Brazzaville and the city of Pointe Noire, and to raise funds for a cancer information centre in the capital.

In Congo, a country of 3.6 million inhabitants with eight oncologists, uterine cancer is the most common form of disease and is often only brought to the attention of doctors when it has reached an advanced stage.

According to the Ministry of Health and Population, which is supporting the campaign, 500 new cases of cancer are recorded in Congo every year.

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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