To mark the world Cancer Day ,World Health Organization , WHO Officer In Charge, Dr. Clement Peters, has stressed the need for health ministries, Stakeholders to address the current inadequate access to cancer diagnostics and therapies, the lack of knowledge on cancer and low health literacy levels.
Dr Peter, at a media round-table on World Cancer Day, in Abuja identified culturally inappropriate cancer prevention materials, mistrust of the health care system, and fatalism regarding cancer cure as reasons for high cancer rate in the region.
He called for behavioural activities, such as eating a proper diet, both in the type and amount of food, engaging in appropriate exercise and physical activity, and receiving appropriate clinical interventions to prevent cancer, .
According to him ““Among the factors responsible for the high cancer burden in Africa are the absence of widely available information on the early signs and symptoms of cancer, late diagnosis, misdiagnosis, absence/weak referral systems, difficult access to care and treatment, catastrophic costs of treatment and medicines, and weak health care systems. Only 26% of low-income countries around the world reported having public sector pathology services, and only 30% of these countries had cancer treatment services; however, 90% of high-income countries can offer such services”
WHO Officer In Charge who noted that Cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide.that the cancer burden in Africa is projected to double from 1,055,172 new cancer cases in 2018 to 2,123,245 cancer cases by 2040.
“New cases and deaths from cancer continue to rise. In 2012, there were 14 million new cases and 8.2 million deaths, whereas in 2018 there were 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths. If current trends are maintained, Among the most important serious challenges facing cancer patients in most African countries are poverty, late and poor cancer diagnosis and lack of medical cover”, he said.
He observed that the key drivers of the increasing cancer burden in Africa include increasing exposure to known cancer risk factors, such as tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diets, alcohol use and environmental pollution.
Dr. Clement Peters said that additional contributing factors in the rise of the cancer burden in Africa are the epidemiologic and demographic changes that are currently taking place.
He said the cancer burden is increasing as Africans are now living longer, in large part because of improvements in the control of the infectious causes of mortality and morbidity