Namibia reeling with 415 lung cancer cases

With many types of cancer cases arising each day, Namibia are currently reeling with a registered 415 cases of lung cancer alone recorded in the last four years, The Villager can reveal. Chief Executive Offi cer (CEO) for the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) Rolf Hansen has said the statistics are indicative of lung cancer taking its rise over Namibia.

“With an average incidence rate of 53 cases per annum on average during 2010 – 2014 (161 males and 105 female) and the latest processed data already indicating 85 cases for 2015 and 65 cases for 2016, lung cancer is on the rise in Namibia,” Hansen told this publication in an exclusive engagement. Namibians have a smoking culture which has seen the CAN taking vigorous steps towards lung cancer awareness campaigns which culminated into the World No Tobacco Day held on the 31st of May.

According to the Namibian National Cancer Registry, administrated by the Cancer Association of Namibia, cancer of the lung, trachea and esophagus most commonly associated with tobacco use is one of the top fi ve most prevalent forms of cancer in Namibia. According to Rolf, lung cancer has the highest fatality rate amongst both men and women in Namibia and worldwide too. “The main cause of lung cancer is tobacco use: Cigarettes, cigars and pipe; while hubbly-bubbly and second hand smoke exposure increase risk as well,” he said.

The hubbly-bubbly often styled as the Hookah has become synonymous with youths who get addicted by its scents and non-choking effect as well as its colorful outlook associated with popular culture.

“Other serious health risks associat ed with smoking include (but are not limited to: damage to the heart and your blood circulation; increases the risk of developing conditions such as coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease (damaged blood vessels), cerebrovascular disease (damaged arteries that supply blood to your brain),” said Rolf. He said attributes from smoking also include ugly yellow and tooth decay, yellow fi ngers, smelly hair, wrinkly skin and even erectile dysfunction! High Cholesterol, anxiety and poor vision and even recurring colds and fl u are all stimulated by tobacco and nicotine use.

Rolf advises the public that Tobacco sadly has no safe way to smoke while replacing one’s cigarette with a cigar, pipe, or hookah or e-cigarette won’t help to avoid the health risks associated with tobacco products. “Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients and when they burn, they generate more than 7,000 chemicals. Many of those chemicals are poisonous and at least 69 of them can cause cancer,” he said. He said that Cigars have a higher level of carcinogens, toxins, and tar than regular cigarettes.

“When using a hookah pipe, you’re likely to inhale more smoke than you would from a cigarette. Hookah smoke has many toxic compounds and exposes you to more carbon monoxide than cigarettes do. Hookahs also produce more secondhand smoke. Similarly, studies have shown that e-cigarettes are not at all as healthy as was initially promoted to be,” he said Tobacco is a risk factor for cancer both in its smoked and chewed form, and in the form of oral snuff. Chewing the areca (betel) nut is a dominant risk factor for oral cancer in certain communities worldwide, including in Southern Africa.

Pipe-smoking is a risk factor for lip cancers. It is essential to monitor amounts and types of alcohol and tobacco consumption by Namibians with particular cancers, so that risk factors specifi c to this population can be determined, and preventative programs instituted.

Smoking a use of tobacco products is not only responsible for lung cancer, but a multitude of other cancer types too – these include (in relation to most common and prevalent in Namibia): Prostate Cancer, Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Nasal, Oral & Esophagus Cancer, Bladder, Kidney & Pancreas Cancers Stomach, Colon & Rectal Cancer.