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  • on 04.02.2016
  • at 12:56 PM
  • by Kimberley Evans

Cancer: Africa’s Silent Killer 0

For World Cancer Day on February 4th, Addis Fortune have published a piece discussing cancer: Africa’s silent killer.

When one walks through cancer wards of public sector hospitals in Africa, the scenes are reminiscent of the battle to get AIDS treatment underway in the early 2000s. But now, hospital beds once filled with AIDS patients are occupied by those afflicted with cancers and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

NCDs are no longer exclusively problems associated with the well-off. Worldwide, roughly 75pc of deaths from NCDs occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). In Africa, NCDs are projected to account for roughly 40pc of the disease burden by 2030. The costly, complex and chronic nature of many of these diseases will fuel the rise in health care costs, underscoring the importance of taking action now.

NCDs are the silent killers with insidious debilitating complications and premature deaths. Take cancer as an example. In 2012, approximately 645,000 new cancer cases and 456,000 cancer deaths occurred in Africa. With limited knowledge and awareness, most patients reach health facilities at an advanced stage of the disease, when the prognosis and survival prospects are dim. .

Patients travel long distances, make huge financial sacrifices and often end up on waiting lists. The impoverishing effects of catastrophic health spending on cancer is a major concern. For example, in a typical African country, the cost of chemotherapy ranges between 130 dollars and 2,000 dollars per treatment.

Continue reading on Addis Fortune

by Miriam Schneidman

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