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Experts urge Africa to declare state of emergency on cancer

Nigeria has lost 5.9 billion dollars to cancer in 2019.

This is according to the Lancet oncology report on cancer care in sub-Sahara Africa launched by the Association of Radiation clinical oncologist of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.

The oncology report inquired and analyzed the state of cancer in sub-Sahara Africa, as well as recommended key actions to address the growing challenge. 

Presenting the findings, the Editor-in-Chief of the Lancet oncology Report, Prof. David Collingridge said the challenges of cancer faced by sub-Saharan Africa was enormous and could worsen if adequate measures were not taken.

”Cancer in Africa is characterized by late stage presentation, delayed diagnosis, limited access to treatment, and poor outcomes relative to other geographic regions”, Prof. Collingridge noted.

On the Economic impact of cancer in Africa, he said Nigeria lost 5.9 billion dollars to cancer in 2019.

A call for action

The Director global health catalyst professor of radiation oncology of Johns Hopkins University, Wil Ngwa said Cancer killed more people than COVID-19 in 2021 in Africa.

Prof. Ngwa who explained that more than 28,000 children died of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020, called for equal urgency to be paid to the disease as in the case of COVID-19.

According to Prof. Ngwa, by 2030, there will be 30% increase of cancer mortality in Africa children, adding that globally, one million deaths per year will be recorded with children accounting for thirty thousand deaths.
He called in Africa to hold a cancer conference and declare cancer an Emergency.

The former Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole in his call for action said Nigeria was the first African country to offer cancer screening in its health insurance scheme, however he urged the government to revitalize eight cancer centers in the country.

The President of the Association of Radiation clinical oncologist of Nigeria, Dr. Amaka Lasebikan stressed that the association would work with the media to create more awareness and to take cancer care to the communities.

Reporting by Nancy Anikaezie; editing by Annabel Nwachukwu