Bulawayo East legislator Illos Nyoni has called upon the government to put in place measures which will allow for the free screening of prostate cancer.
Honourable Nyoni’s call comes at a time when cases of cancer are on an increase in Zimbabwe, while at the same time the cost of its treatment is beyond the reach of many.
Nyoni argued that there are facilities that offer cervical cancer screenings for women free or at a subsidised price but the same was not being done for men.
“I heard the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care saying the facilities are there for screening from 40 years upwards, where they are screened for cervical cancer and other cancers but for men you have to pay through the nose.
“What arrangements or facilities are you putting in place for men to get this screening for free?
In response the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Mangwiro said while screening of cancers in general is quite expensive for prostate cancer, the government policy is that anyone can get this screening done at a price that is reasonable if done at central hospitals.
“Screening of cancers in general is quite expensive for the prostate cancer, as government, we will endeavour to make sure that this prostate testing is made cheaper and everyone should have access and afford to have it done on them while there is time before the disease shows up.
“Besides the PSA test, we have one cheap one where I put my figure up into the anal canal and then feel the prostate. It is a way of screening which is quite cheap but some men do not want that, but if one goes to our hospitals and you have a sample of blood taken, they can have them tested at our central hospitals.” he said.
Dr Mangwiro added that free screenings were in the pipeline such that everyone is treated for free and must be screened for free but will take time in planning and seeing where the monies can be taken from.
Awareness of cancer and detailed knowledge on signs and symptoms, as well as screening methods, has remained poorly understood, with much emphasis on cervical cancer, it is now that a number of prominent figures are succumbing to the diseases that more lights are being shed towards it.