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Handbook for Cancer Research in Africa

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

In 1899 the surgeon Roswell Park predicted that cancer would overtake the common infectious diseases of the time as a killer of Americans. At that time people would not believe that this was realistic, but in less than 30 years of this prediction cancer was second only to heart disease as a cause of American deaths. We see the same trend in Africa today. Figure 1 presents the expected growth of the cancer burden in sub-Saharan Africa between 2010 and 2030 compared with Europe and the United States. These data show that the number of deaths due to cancer will increase in sub-Saharan Africa at a substantially greater rate than in Europe or USA. There is evidence also that cancer incidence and mortality are vastly underreported, (1) so cancer deaths in Africa are likely to be higher than shown in Figure 1.

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