African governments are ill-prepared to address the continent's growing cancer burden, warn Hany Besadaand and Vadim Ermakov.
Rising pollution, an adoption of western dietary habits, high smoking rates, poor nutrition and aging populations are among the factors leading to an increase in African cancer cases. The WHO estimates that by 2020 Africa will account for more than one million new cases of cancer annually.
But Africa is the continent least prepared to cope with this new pandemic, write the authors.
Many of the cancers found in Africa are preventable or treatable when detected early, but a lack of resources and basic infrastructure is preventing access to cancer screening, early diagnosis, treatment and palliative care.
African governments, with help from the international community, must establish effective and affordable cancer control programmes — by integrating clinical and public health systems — if they are to fight the onslaught of cancer.