Cancer in Africa

"About 40% of cancer in the world can be avoided through prevention, diagnostic techniques and a healthy and appropriate lifestyle," this is the message launched in 2010by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC - "Cancer can be prevented too", 2010).

This message of hope unfortunately only involves the western world.

Professor Peter Boyle of the International Prevention Research Institute (IPRI) denounces the serious disparities in cancer treatment between the rich countries and the poor, stating that "the elimination of these differences is an urgent matter" (European Breast CancerConference, 2014 ).

In Africa, cancer is a real emergency. The incidence of cancer has increased dramatically since the 1990s, due to the lack of national programmes for the control of the disease. In 2008, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, there have been 667,000 cases of cancer (5.4% of cases in the world) that concluded in 518,000 deaths.

The cancer rate is very similar to that of mortality.

African health systems are fragile and often collapse; lack of infrastructure, human resources and equipment are the most critical factors. Over 60% of countries have no access to radiotherapy services and programmes for early detection and screening.

Compared to AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, malnutrition, war, food shortages and poverty, in Africa cancer is certainly not a priority and until now it has been largely neglected.