Khupe, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and underwent surgery in South Africa, said government had plans to avail chemotherapy at every provincial hospital in the country.
“We must make sure that chemotherapy is available on each and every provincial hospital,” said Khupe, while addressing high school students marking Women’s Day in Harare last week.
Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with an antineoplastic drug or with a combination of such drugs into a standardised treatment regimen.
The most common chemotherapy agents act by killing cells that divide rapidly, one of the main properties of most cancer cells.
Khupe said she met Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who promised to buy the machinery for every provincial hospital so that more cancer patients can have access to affordable treatment.
“I had a meeting with the finance minister and he has assured us that already they are buying cancer machinery.”
Khupe said a cancer foundation, which she plans to open soon, was critical “because we will go to the villages where the women are to make sure that women are checked and receive treatment early.”
Khupe also encouraged women to carry out self-examination of the breasts every month to enable them to detect the disease early.
“I was diagnosed of cancer but did not lose hope and I would like to say that what kills people in the majority of cases is the mind, the mind destroys you totally, the mind kills you,” she said.
“You must know that scientists are moving with time, they are making new discoveries so these days cancer is curable but early detection saves lives.”
Health experts say that early detection of cancer does not only save lives but also reduces the cost of treatment.
They said treatment for advanced cancer is estimated to cost about US$4 000 in private hospitals, making it inaccessible for the majority of women in the country.
The International Atomic Energy Agency estimates that Zimbabwe gets 7 000 new cases each year and an average of 1 500 of these are treated with radiotherapy.
The Zimbabwe Cancer Registry 2005 report says 60% of the cancers reported in the country are HIV-related.