Mwanza is a mid-sized port city on the southern shores of Lake Victoria in northwestern Tanzania. With an urban population of 1.2 million and a metropolitan population of 2 million, it is Tanzania’s second largest city, following the capital Dar es Salaam.
Bugando Medical Center is a 900 beds hospital located in the city of Mwanza and currently operated by the Episcopal Conference of Tanzania.
The hospital assists patients in different disciplines such as Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, ENT, Obstetrics and Gynecology: however, until a few years ago, the hospital had no Laboratory of Pathology.
Cancers Epidemiology in Tanzania
In Tanzania, particularly in Mwanza, cancer is the second cause of death after major infectious diseases (AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis).
Among the different malignancies, the most common tumors are related to biological etiological factors especially viral infections (HPV, HIV, EBV, HHV-8, Hepatitis C and B) with a prevalence of Burkitt’s lymphoma particularly in children (EBV) ; Kaposi’s disease (HHV-8) ; uterine cervix carcinoma (HPV), head and neck carcinoma (EBV) and hepatocellular carcinoma (hepatitis viruses B and C). Although less frequent, there are also other forms of cancer such as breast cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Control options available for these types of cancer are numerous and real: from primary prevention (personal hygiene, food habits, prophylaxis vaccination) to early diagnosis (pap test, clinical breast examination, inspection of the oral cavity) to antiviral therapy and anticancer drugs (particularly active in Kaposi’s disease and Burkitt’s lymphoma).
Now, it is clear how important is a global action to promote cancer control in this region. This goal is achievable only if a specific structure, i.e. an Oncology Unit, operates in the field, taking charge and promoting all possible initiatives related to basic health education of the population for primary prevention, early diagnosis and application of the latest cancer treatment.