The World Health Organisation (WHO) says approximately 1.1 million new cancer cases occur each year in Africa, with about 700,000 deaths.
WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, stated this Sunday in her statement to mark this year’s World Cancer Day themed ‘Close the Care Gap: Uniting Our Voices and Taking Action.’
She said current projections showed that Africa would account for nearly 50 percent of the global childhood cancer burden by 2050.
Moeti said with significant data challenges, childhood cancer incidence in sub-Saharan Africa was estimated at 56.3 per million population.
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According to her, data estimates show a considerable increase in cancer mortality to nearly one million deaths per year by 2030, without urgent and bold interventions.
She said: “We should recall that the most common cancers in adults include breast (16.5%), cervical (13.1%), prostate (9.4%), Colorectal (6%), and liver (4.6%) cancers, contributing to nearly half of the new cancer cases.”
Moeti said 12 countries in the region had valid National Cancer Control Plans.
She said the WHO was supporting 11 additional countries in developing or updating their National Cancer Control Plans aligned to the global cancer initiatives coupled with the presence of governance structures at the government level to implement cancer plans.
She said it was gratifying to note the steady increase of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination national introduction by 51 percent of countries in the region, although coverage remained concerning at 21 percent.
Moeti said despite these achievements, stumbling blocks remain on the continent’s path, including low availability of population-based cancer registries, limited health promotion, inadequate access to primary prevention and early detection services, scarcity of diagnostic facilities that increase delays in diagnosis and treatment, among others.
She called on governments to develop/update national cancer control plans, provide sustainable financing and invest in cancer registration.
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