WHO Reports Alarming Cancer Statistics in Africa: Over 500,000 Deaths in 2022

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
3 Min Read
WHO Reports Alarming Cancer Statistics in Africa: Over 500,000 Deaths in 2022

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, highlighted the severe cancer situation in Africa, stating that over 500,000 Africans succumbed to cancer in 2022. Dr. Moeti’s message commemorated the 2024 World Cancer Day, shedding light on the gravity of the situation.

She disclosed that approximately 882,882 new cancer cases occurred in the WHO African Region, resulting in around 573,653 deaths. Shockingly, half of the new cancer cases in adults were attributed to breast, cervical, prostate, colorectal, and liver cancers.

Dr. Moeti issued a warning, stating that without urgent intervention, cancer mortality in the region could reach one million deaths annually by 2030. Additionally, she emphasized that cancer death rates in Africa might surpass the global average of 30%, projecting a worrisome future, especially considering the current average cancer survival rate of 12%, significantly lower than the global average of over 80% in High-Income Countries.

World Cancer Day, observed on February 4th annually, serves as a global effort to raise awareness about cancer-related issues. The focus between 2022 and 2024 revolves around “Closing the cancer gap,” and this year’s theme, “Together, we challenge those in power,” calls for global leaders to prioritize and invest in cancer prevention and care.

The National Cancer Prevention and Control Plan (2018-2022) reported that cancer is responsible for 72,000 deaths annually in Nigeria, with 102,000 new cases reported each year.

While acknowledging the challenges, Dr. Moeti applauded the progress made in cancer prevention and care across Africa. Seventeen countries have introduced high-performance-based screening tests in line with WHO recommendations, and 28 Member States have implemented nationwide HPV vaccination, reaching approximately 60% of the priority population targeted.

The 2024 World Cancer Day theme emphasizes the universal right to health for all individuals, regardless of socioeconomic status, geographic location, age, or gender. Dr. Moeti called on countries, communities, partners, and civil society to unite in fostering universal access to cancer prevention and care.

She urged stakeholders to identify feasible priorities, implement evidence-based interventions, and invest in cancer control. Dr. Moeti emphasized the responsibility of leaders to ensure the deployment of cost-effective technologies and therapies, ensuring value for money and equal access to cancer prevention and care.

The call to action involves challenging those in power to go the extra mile for a cancer-free Africa, emphasizing a collaborative approach involving the entire society in the fight against cancer.


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