“It is bad to have cancer, and worse if you’re poor” : The increasing importance of cancer control in Africa

25 Jul 2019

Population growth and increasing life expectancies in Africa have led to a rise in cancer incidence.  What does this mean for existing healthcare systems? What are the challenges of cancer control in Africa? And while new innovations in cancer treatment are well-reported in the news, are these exciting breakthroughs accessible to citizens of the second most-populous continent in the world?

From making affordable treatment available to all patients and managing palliative care in the face of cultural opposition to opioids, to implementing vaccination programs and combating misinformation, to training new oncologists and nurses to meet growing demands - the issues involved in cancer control in Africa are as complex and diverse as the continent itself.

ecancer’s latest Special Issue collects sixteen articles from world experts and grassroots researchers on the topic, ranging from the local challenges of surgery to the importance of awareness campaigns. Guest edited by Prof Peter Boyle and Dr Alina Macacu of the International Prevention Research Institute, France and Prof Twalib Ngoma of Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Tanzania, this Special Issue has been carefully curated to provide a thorough understanding of the current cancer landscape in Africa.

“Both being unaware regarding the cancer situation in Africa and knowing about it and doing nothing are unacceptable,” says Prof Boyle.  “This edition has been written by Africans, and some international colleagues working closely in Africa, about Africa. It outlines the current situation quite clearly. If widely read, there will be no excuse for a lack of action.”

“Radical changes will be needed to cope with the flood of cancer patients that can be expected. Unless action is taken immediately, we will be too late to avoid another African health emergency. We are hoping that these papers will provide a call to action for policymakers.”

The Special Issue is now live at, where these articles are completely free to read.

Read the Special Issue here.

In addition, more information is available at and on the website