Reuters examines cancer in Africa, writing, "Most of Africa's around 2,000 languages have no word for cancer. The common perception in both developing and developed countries is that it's a disease of the wealthy world, where high-fat, processed-food diets, alcohol, smoking and sedentary lifestyles fuel tumor growth." However, according to the news service, sub-Saharan Africa will see an estimated one million new cancer cases this year -- "a number predicted to double to two million a year in the next decade," and, "[b]y 2030, according to predictions from the [WHO], 70 percent of the world's cancer burden will be in poor countries."
"Countries in the region like Sierra Leone, Togo, [and] Guinea have absolutely nothing in terms of cancer care," David Kerr, a cancer specialist based at Britain's Oxford University and former president of the European Society of Medical Oncology, said, according to Reuters, which adds, "The result is that the reality for many in Africa is that a cancer diagnosis means a painful and distressing death." The news service provides some statistics regarding cancer incidence and the availability of cancer care in the region, notes that many cancers in Africa are caused by infections likes hepatitis B and C, and discusses misperceptions about cancer on the continent. "The overwhelming number of cases and the paucity of funds, doctors and treatment mean it's difficult to know where to start, Kerr says. But cancer experts -- foreign and African -- and patients and advocacy groups say what's needed first is greater awareness," Reuters writes (Kelland, 5/1).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.