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Increased smoking leads to more death in Ethiopia

St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC) opened its oncology department last week. It will be the second hospital offering cancer treatment in the country.
Black Lion Hospital was the only hospital giving the service officially. The country is expecting seven Cancer treatment centers in places like Gondar, Mekelle, Hawassa and Harrar.
St. Paul is also building a nine-story building to become an Oncology excellence center for the country.
“We started the service to share Black Lion’s burden for chemotherapy,” said Dr. Abdu Adem the department director. “I will be the only cancer specialist for the department and we have 12 general practitioners, 14 nurses and other medical personnel which makes the service professional.”
Currently, in Ethiopia, there are 13 cancer specialists including Dr. Abdu which makes the battle against cancer a challenge. According to data obtained from the Ministry of Health’s survey, about 160,000 new cancer cases are reported every year.
In Ethiopia, breast cancer causes 33 percent of cancer deaths and cervical cancers cause 26 percent of deaths. Prostate cancer and lung cancer also cause many cancer deaths in men.
The 300 million birr project of the St. Paul’s cancer excellence center is expected to be finalized within three years. The complex will have five radiation machines and 250 beds. Upon completion, it is expected to receive all referral cases including those from Black Lion.
The center is going to provide all Oncology services except for Radiation Treatment.
“We are in a process of obtaining the radiation machine and until then Black Lion remains the only provider of such treatment,” said Dr. Abdu.
The hospital is planning to give trainings for nurses, technicians and radiologists in treating cancer, he said.
Currently the reported number of cancer deaths and patients is increasing. Among the causes are inappropriate life style, eating disorders and the increasing intake of alcohol and cigarettes.
According to Dr. Abdu the increasing number of smokers means more deaths from cancer.