Cancer Awareness Among Adults in the Kilimanjaro Region

A. Henke, *O. Henke, F. Serventi Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, Cancer Care Centre, Moshi, United Republic of Tanzania
Publication year: 


Approximately 14 million new cases were diagnosed with cancer internationally and 8 million of these new cases were diagnosed in low-resource regions according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). For Tanzania, it is estimated that the cancer incidence will double in the year 2030, from 37,000 new cases in 2015 to more than 61,000 cases. In Tanzania is a high prevalence of Burkitt´s lymphoma in children, cervical and breast cancer in women, and prostate and esophagus/stomach cancer in men. Many types of cancer could be prevented by modifying lifestyle choices (e.g., reduce of alcohol consumption and HPV-vaccinations etc). In Tanzania very few studies were published about cancer awareness. A Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC) based-registry shows that the majority of patients come in the late stages of cancer to the hospital. In 2017 came in total 760 patient and 85% of them showed up in stage III and IV. Reasons why patients come so late is a lack of knowledge about the cancer symptoms and risk factors and the people in the Kilimanjaro Region are not aware of the new Cancer Care Centre at KCMC which opened in December 2016. 



A cross-section study want to gain a deep understanding of the cancer knowledge in the community for future focus programs. This survey want to identify the knowledge of cancer, awareness of cancer risk factors and treatment options among adults in the Kilimanjaro Region. 



In collaboration with Berlin Charité in 2017 started a cross-section study about prevention and awareness among adults in the Kilimanjaro Region. In total over 5000 people will be interviewed in all 7 districts in the Kilimanjaro Region from October 2017 until April 2019. The study use will a valid questionnaire with 46 items about cancer awareness, cancer knowledge, risk factors and treatment options. 

First preliminary results 


Since October 2017 over 2000 people were interviewed in Siha, Moshi Urban and Moshi Rural district. First preliminary results give already a overview about the demographic characteristics in the Kilimanjaro Region and the knowledge about cancer and the awareness about cancer risk factors in the community. 52% of the community members consider cancer as a problem in the community. 12% of this people have currently somebody with cancer in the household. Most known cancer types are cervical cancer and breast cancer. 14% of the people have never heard about cancer. Only (35.0%) knew ≥1 risk of cancer. Majority were not even able to justify their specific aspects in related to cancer. 



About 2 cancer risk factors: 28% of the community members drink 2 times per week and more alcohol, only 3% smoke cigarettes currently and 31% eat more than 3 times a week red meat. 



Overall about cancer in the community is very poor. Especially in the rural areas is a strong need for more education and awareness.