In Africa, cancer kills more people than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. Approximately 40 percent of cancer cases can be prevented and 40 percent can be cured with the right treatment. Together with Elekta, ministries of health in almost a dozen African nations are working to build up their radiation therapy infrastructures and save lives.
More than 50 percent of all cancer patients worldwide would benefit from radiation therapy during the course of their disease, either as the sole therapy or in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. Despite being home to 85 percent of the world's population, less than 35 percent of the world's radiotherapy facilities are in low-income countries. Africa is a prime example of the shortfall that leaves most cancer patients in low-income countries without access to potentially life-saving radiation therapy treatment.
Ian Alexander, Executive Vice President of Elekta's Region Europe, Africa, Latin America and Middle East, says: "Most sub-Saharan countries lack the facilities and trained personnel necessary to provide effective prevention, early detection or adequate treatment of cancer. Elekta is striving to introduce to these countries value-based health systems that deliver high-quality care at low total costs."
Access to radiation therapy on the continent has been hampered by a variety of factors, including education and training. Elekta is committed to improving these circumstances and is investing substantially in its Learning and Innovation Center (LINC) training facility in Cape Town (South Africa). Here, clinicians can learn more about the use of linear accelerators, oncology information systems and treatment planning systems. The company is also actively working to address the unmet need for radiation therapy solutions.
"It is totally unacceptable that fewer than half of Africa's cancer patients have access to any treatment services," Alexander says. "Elekta is determined to change the outlook for millions of patients in Sub-Saharan Africa, by providing affordable solutions."