BLANTYRE—Tough regulations on public smoking could help reduce a rare form of lunch cancer in Malawi, according to a study by the Oncology Department at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre.
Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency on Wednesday Malawi’s only Oncologist, Dr. Leo Masamba, called on government to consider banning public smoking as one way of preventing lung cancer.
“Active or passive smoking greatly contributes to the cause of lung cancer. It’s so sad that others may develop it because someone they are close to or work with smokes a lot,” he said.
Ministry of Health Spokesperson, Henry Chimbali, told Mana passive smokers inhale second hand smoke which also contains carcinogens that may cause other health disorders including lung cancer.
“Our research on risk factors for non communicable diseases shows that 14.1 percent of the adult population aged between 25 and 64 use tobacco products.”
But banning public smoking remains the responsibility of the owners of premises to create a clean environment for all the people, he said.
Dr. Ntabeni Jemu, Medical Officer in the Oncology Department at QECH said a study conducted in 2008 in 28 hospitals indicated that out of 10,375 cancer patients, 30 of them had lung cancer.
“This is an indication that lung cancer is little in Malawi and if people were to live a healthy life style, the cases would decrease,” said Dr. Jemu.
Coughing out blood, weight loss, horse voice and shortness of breath are some of the signs of lung cancer.
“Lung cancer signs are often being confused with that of Tuberculosis, a thing which has led to loss of life because the patient may have been put on wrong dosage. They may finish up TB treatment but they don’t respond,” added Dr. Jemu.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.