In July 2009 a scientific research paper entitled "Cancer: a new threat to Africa" was presented in Rome at the Italian Institute for Africa and East (IsIAO). The research was conducted by an African researcher, in collaboration with several oncologists from the Regina Elena Cancer Institute based in Rome.
The data, collected from scientific sources in the field of epidemiology, detected a worrying increase in the reports of cancer - the numbers are expected to rise very fasten in the coming years. In particular, in 2008 the World Health Organization (WHO) launched an alarm: if no prompt action is taken to develop effective health programmes in Africa, by 2020 the continent may face up to 13 million new cases of cancer, and more than 1 million deaths annually.
Following the presentation of the research, two on-site visits were organized: in Mozambique in August 2009 and in Uganda in January 2010.
The information gathered during visits and interviews all demonstrated the existence in these countries of a real health scare and evidence of the fragility of their health care systems. In fact, the lack of infrastructure and the limited human and material resources confirm the difficulties for African countries to cope with this new threat.
Facing this alarm, a team of doctors and experts on African problems decided to intervene to help people in Africa affected by cancer by providing them with knowledge and skills and their own commitment.
“Oncology for Africa” was founded in May 2010 as an association committed to the prevention and treatment of cancer in African countries.
In July 2010, the association was recognized as an NPO (non-profit organisation) and in 2013 chose the acronym “AFRON”.