Port-Louis, Mauritius - Cancer is emerging as a major public health challenge that can be attributed to an ageing population, rapid lifestyle modifications and environmental changes in Mauritius, where it has become the third major health threat after diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, PANA reported Tuesday from the Mauritian capital.
On World Cancer Day being marked Tuesday, Mauritian Health Minister Lormus Bundhoo said cancer represents the third cause of mortality in the country and was responsible for 12.3% of deaths in 2012.
'The increasing burden of cancer is a significant challenge for our health services. A total of 1,942 new cases of cancers, 1,114 in females and 828 in males, occurred in 2012,' he said, adding that the common types of cancer in Mauritius are breast cancer among women and prostate and colon-rectum cancer among men.
The Minister was speaking at a one-day workshop, aimed at developing a protocol for the selective screening of high risk patients for breast cancer by digital mammography.
The workshop is being attended by around 60 health professionals, who are discussing the criteria for high risk patients, as well as a strategy to carry out the selective screening programme for all women who are at risks of developing breast cancer.
According to the Minister, the government is taking numerous measures to prevent and improve cancer care in Mauritius.
He announced that a new state-of-the-art Radiotherapy and Oncology Centre would be built and that the National Cervical Screening Service, which screens all women above 30 years on a regular basis, will be revamped.
Various activities are being organised this month throughout the island to sensitise the population to cancer, the risk factors and the preventive measures.