Saturday, May 28, 2022

One million Nigerians, Sub-Saharan Africans to die of cancer by 2030: Report

The report noted that about 4.2 per cent Africans made up the global population of newly detected cancer cases in 2020.

• May 10, 2022
Cancer symbol used to illustrate the story
Cancer symbol used to illustrate the story

The Lancet Oncology has projected that one million Nigerians and other sub-Saharan Africans would die of cancer by 2030, if urgent intervention were not provided.

“Annual cancer deaths in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) could reach 1 million by 2030, nearly double the 520,000 deaths from cancer that occurred in 2020,” projected the Lancet Oncology Commission in its latest report.

The Commission’s experts noted that about 4.2 per cent Africans made up the global population of newly detected cancer cases in 2020, as many women presented with breast and cervical cancers, the most common forms of cancer in the region.

The report predicted that African women have a 14 per cent chance of developing cancer by the age of 75.

In 2020, breast cancer ranked first in 28 and 19 sub-Saharan nations, while cervical cancer had the highest mortality rate in 21 countries as 1 in 100 patients lost their lives to the terminal disease.

Meanwhile, the African menfolk were ravaged by prostate cancer with over 77,300 recorded cases followed by liver cancer (24,700 cases) and colorectal cancer (23,400 cases).

Blaming the upsurge in cases on “ageing populations, increasing adoption of westernised lifestyles, patients presenting with late-stage cancer, and lack of awareness about cancer risk factors,” the team of oncologists stated.

The commission noted that many patients with breast cancer did not “initiate treatment or abandoned it following initiation”, increasing the chances of death.

“Of non-metastatic breast cancer patients requiring chemotherapy, in countries such as Nigeria, treatment abandonment was as high as 38%,” stated the report.

Some of the recommendations by the Lancet Commission to reduce cancer cases and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa include the incorporation of cancer care into essential benefits packages and national health insurance systems, piloting early cancer screening and detection programmes, investment in telehealth and other digital health solutions.

Other solutions proffered are establishment of national cancer research institutes with funding streams, inclusion of palliative care for cancer patients, development of national cancer control plans with sustained financing.

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