World Health Organisation (WHO) has said cancer mortality in the African region is projected to reach about one million deaths per year by 2030 if urgent measures are not taken.
WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, who disclosed this yesterday, in commemoration of the 2024 World Cancer Day, themed: “Close the cancer gap”, said in 20 years, cancer death rates in Africa will overtake the global average of 30 percent.
Moeti said this is more so because cancer survival rates in the WHO African region currently average 12 percent, much lower than the average of over 80 percent in High-Income Countries.
She said the cancer situation in Africa is disheartening. “In the year 2022, approximately 882,882 new cancer cases occurred in the WHO African Region with around 573, 653 deaths. About 50 percent of new cancer cases in adults in the region are due to breast, cervical, prostate, colorectal and liver cancers.”
However, she commended the progress made in cancer prevention and care in the region, saying, “For instance, 17 countries have introduced high-performance-based screening tests in line with the WHO recommendations.
Also, 28 of our member states have introduced nationwide HPV vaccination to reach about 60 percent of the priority population targeted with HPV vaccination.”
She called on the region’s countries, communities, partners, and civil society to unite and foster universal access to cancer prevention and care.
“Stakeholders must identify feasible priorities, implement evidence-based population-wide interventions and invest in cancer control,” Moeti said.