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Africa’s Emerging Cancer Crisis: A Call to Action

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

Today, 60% more Africans die from cancer than succumb to malaria—and the number of cancer deaths is rising at an alarming rate. In 2030, the number of deaths from cancer will have increased by almost 70% based on age demographics alone. African healthcare systems are struggling under the weight of this burgeoning cancer crisis. In fact, over 20% of African countries have no access to cancer treatments at all, while access is limited and sporadic in other countries. Large-scale mobilization of domestic and international resources is urgently needed. In 2014, health expenditures per capita in sub-Saharan Africa amounted to only US$98—almost 100 times less than the United States. Further, only 5% of global funding for cancer prevention and control is spent in Africa and other low- and middle-income regions, yet these regions are home to 65% of cancer deaths and 75% of premature deaths due to cancer. Public-private partnerships involving African governments, healthcare leaders, non-profits, and industries from developed countries are urgently needed to build a sustainable system to address the emerging cancer crisis in Africa. 

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