Nigeria’s Death Rate from Cancer to Rise to 75% by 2030, Says WHO

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Kuni Tyessi in Abuja

‎Nigeria is predicted to expect a 75 per cent increase in cancer-induced death come the year 2030, as it happens to be a member of the Low-Medium Income Countries which statistics has revealed will suffer from the effects of the virus.

This was revealed by the World Health Organisation regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti in a statement to commemorate the 2018 World Cancer Day.

She said this year marks the end of the three-year campaign “We can, I can” that urged individuals, societies and governments to take action and reduce the impact of cancer whose drive sensitised millions, challenged governments and individuals around the world to take action, and provided a platform for cancer patients and their families to share their stories and be heard.

‎She said notwithstanding the gains made during the “We can, I can” campaign, the battle to curb the impact of cancer is far from over as currently, an estimated 8.8 million people in the world die from cancer annually, representing almost one sixth of total deaths.

‎She said: “The cancer death rate is expected to double by 2030. Seventy-five (75 per cent) per cent of cancer deaths in the world are recorded in low- and middle-income countries such as African member states, partly due to late diagnosis. Fewer than 30 per cent of low-income countries have access to cancer diagnosis and treatment services.
“In 2015, approximately 35 per cent of low-income countries reported the availability of public sector pathology services, relative to over 95 per cent of high-income countries. On the other hand, cancer referral systems are often unavailable, resulting in delayed access to care.

“The cancer burden in Africa is projected to rise on account of the ageing population, chronic infections, unhealthy lifestyle choices and risk factors. About a third of cancer deaths are due to preventable risk factors such as overweight, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Often, such choices are influenced by forces beyond the people’s control, such as the availability and more affordable cost of unhealthy foods, and the strategies employed to market tobacco and alcohol. When detected early, cancers are easier to treat with less expensive, invasive procedures and technologies.”

‎In recognising the growing threat of cancer as a public health problem, governments around the world adopted the 2017 World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution on cancer. They committed to 22 actions to help reduce the number of cancer deaths annually and improve the lives of those living with the virus.

The key priorities identified were: promoting health; reducing risks; increasing the availability of anticancer vaccines; and ensuring that early detection, diagnosis, treatment, care and pain relief are more timely and accessible. The resolution also lays special emphasis on cancer management for children, adolescents and young people, who have their own unique needs.