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50 per cent global cancer burden in children will be in Africa by 2050

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
29 September 2022   |   2:34 am
A report by The Lancet Oncology Commission on the challenge of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa has revealed that Nigeria lost $5.9 billion in 2019 through cancer-related deaths.

[FILES] Cancer diagnosis machine

Nigeria lost $5.9b in 2019 to cancer-related deaths, says report

A report by The Lancet Oncology Commission on the challenge of cancer in sub-Saharan Africa has revealed that Nigeria lost $5.9 billion in 2019 through cancer-related deaths.

The report, launched yesterday, also indicated that by 2050, almost 50 per cent of the global cancer burden in children younger than 15 years will be in Africa.

Presenting the report at the 5th scientific conference of the Association of Clinical and Radiation Oncologists of Nigeria (ARCON) in Abuja, the Chair, Lancet Oncology Commission for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Prof. Wilfred Ngwa, described the cancer burden in Nigeria and Africa as a huge emergency.

Ngwa noted that if the situation is not addressed, the number of deaths will continue to increase exponentially.

“We really need to intervene now. It is an urgent issue that needs serious attention. We can’t really wait any longer on the commission,” he said.

According to Ngwa, the report highlighted that universal healthcare, access to cancer registries and better prevention are absolutely essential in the battle.

He said the burden of cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to worsen rapidly if adequate measures are not taken, including international collaboration.

Also speaking, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet Oncology and Visiting Professor of Global Oncology in the School of Cancer and Pharmaceutical Sciences at King’s College, London, Dr. David Collingridge, said more people died of cancer than COVID-19 in 2021.

He called for the need to give the same priority attention, as COVID-19, to the fight against cancer.

Collingridge said there were over 600,000 deaths from cancer in 2021 while COVID-19 deaths were estimated to be 400,000.

He added: “There was a lot of urgencies put into it (COVID-19), which means we need to do the same thing for cancer. We need to realise that cancer is killing more people. So, we need to dedicate that same priority, as we’re doing for COVID-19.”

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