WHO: Cancer is likely to kill one million Africans yearly by 2030
According to Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Regional Director for Africa for the World Health Organization, cancer mortality might reach nearly a million fatalities annually by 2030 in the absence of swift and audacious action.
She claims that 700,000 people die from cancer each year in Africa, where there are reportedly 1.1 million new cases.
In a message to mark World Cancer Day in 2023, she said this.
February 4 is designated as World Cancer Day internationally to promote cancer awareness and the prevention, detection, and treatment of the disease. “Close the Care Gap: Uniting our Voices and Taking Action” is the topic for 2023.
The numbers are stark, according to Dr. Moeti. In Africa, there are over 700,000 deaths from cancer each year and about 1.1 million new cases. Without immediate and audacious initiatives, data estimates indicate a significant rise in cancer mortality to approximately one million deaths annually by 2030.
“We should keep in mind that the most prevalent malignancies in adults are breast (16.5%), cervical (13.1%), prostate (9.4%), colorectal (6%) and liver (4.6%), accounting for roughly half of all new cancer cases. The incidence of juvenile cancer in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be 56.3 per million people despite considerable data problems.
By 2050, it is predicted that over 50% of all children cancer cases worldwide would occur in Africa, necessitating quick action to address this issue, as was done for the young girl from Rwanda.
However, she said that 12 countries in the region had legal national cancer control plans, and that WHO was assisting 11 more in creating or updating national cancer control plans that were in line with international cancer initiatives and had governance frameworks in place to carry them out.
She added that in order to facilitate the capacity building of local staff and enhance data quality for efficient decision-making, the organization working with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in cancer registration had established three collaborative centers in Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, and South Africa.
National Treatment Guidelines for children cancer have been produced in nations including Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, and Senegal. Cancer Guidelines have been created and are being used in 25 countries. Political will is still crucial for transforming the cancer picture. A good example is the inclusion of pediatric cancer medications in Ghana and Zambia’s National Health Insurance Scheme. Such a calculated move will dramatically raise the survival statistics for cancer-stricken kids in these nations.
To create and test the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support guidelines for kids in Burkina Faso, we’re working with Childhood Cancer International. Although coverage remains alarming at 21%, it is encouraging to see that national introduction of the HPV vaccine has steadily increased by 51% of the nations in the region.
According to WHO recommendations, 16 countries have currently implemented high-performance-based screening tests and want to expand cervical cancer screening. It is excellent and innovative that gynecologic oncology fellowships have been established to promote access to cervical cancer treatment services in Malawi and Zambia.
Despite the successes, she pointed out that there are still problems, including a lack of Population-Based Cancer Registries, limited health promotion, poor access to primary prevention and early detection services, and a lack of diagnostic centers that lengthen the time between diagnosis and treatment.
Even though palliative care is greatly needed, it is not frequently provided in Africa. Only 3% of the world’s cancer treatment facilities are in Africa, and only 22 nations in sub-Saharan Africa have radiotherapy, which contributes to the region’s extremely low survival rates.
“By banding together and taking action, we can combat cancer at the individual and community levels: by choosing healthy lifestyles, getting immunized, and by routinely screening for malignancies that can be prevented. It is the duty of parents to see that their eligible girls obtain HPV shots.
“I urge national cancer control strategies to be created and updated, sustainable funding to be provided, and funds to be invested in cancer registration. I urge governments to include cancer care in their basic benefit plans and public health insurance programs. Having a sufficient infrastructure for human resources, screening, diagnosis, and treatment is also essential. Additionally, there is a need to increase the use of digital health and set up pertinent training for cancer workforce members.
Finally, cancer patients and survivors can speak out in favor of improved cancer care. They ought to be involved in the design of cancer services at all levels of healthcare since they are people with firsthand knowledge.
“Make universal health for cancer prevention, treatment, and care a reality in Africa by banding together to fight cancer,” she said.