Africa’s cancer rates hits 6 million people in 2015 alone

March 27, 2016

A new study has revealed the extent of Cancer rates in Sub Saharan Africa.In a continent where reliable data is hard to obtain, the new findings show cancer rates are exploding.This is the first time the extent has been revealed. In 2015, more than six million people were diagnosed with the disease and nearly one million died from it, research from a group of Clinicians showed.In some of the industrial cities like Lagos, Accra, Nairobi, Johannesburg, lung cancer rates have increased a staggering seven-fold, but authorities seem reluctant to acknowledge let alone deal with the epidemic.Cancer Institutes and Hospitals in major cities across the region are struggling to cope with ever increasing caseloads.Every day, thousands pour in from all over the rural areas. People can wait months if not years for a doctor’s appointment, but often it is too late for treatment and the cancer is too advanced. Cancer is the over production of cells in the body which can spread through the organs and lead to health complications and possible eventual death. There are different types such as lung, breast, liver, stomach and throat.Cancer can be caused by infections, exposure to harmful chemicals, radiation as well as lifestyle risk factors such as smoking tobacco, excessive alcohol use, lack of exercise and unhealthy diets. In one section of the study, researchers chronicles a woman who wanted to remain unidentified said her husband had just been diagnosed with lung cancer and, like most we spoke to, she was sure of what caused it. “The reason is the work environment and the air pollution in Johannesburg, he had no cover,” she said.The couple come from the mining producing province in South Africa.

The woman said her husband was exposed to chronic air pollution when he worked on the regional railways. “At night if you use a torch, you can see it best, the air is full of small particles, if you work indoors there’s less chance of getting cancer,” she said.Cancer is one of the leading cause of death in most countries in Sub Saharan Africa since 2005, with lung cancer causing the most deaths. With the increase in air pollution over the last decade, lung cancer has increased 70 per cent in major cities like Addis Ababa, Accra, Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi and Johannesburg.But the most dramatic increases have been in the mineral producing countries with South Africa being the most affected.Approximately 8 million people die from cancer every year. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce the risk of fatality so having instruments that tell us more about the cells is critical.Figures released to the researchers from a Hospital in Kenya show lung cancer rates increased 250 per cent from 1985 to 2015. Researchers say extreme air pollution has contributed to the rise.”There’s already sufficient evidence that exposure to outdoor pollution will cause lung cancer and it’s the reason why the agencies on research on cancers and local health organisations have been classifying air pollution in major cities in Sub Saharan Africa. Health authorities routinely censor news about health impacts and chronic pollution.Africa cancer specialists and doctors that i approached for views on the study refused to comment saying they will do so when its publicly available.The report will published exclusively for Clinicians by African academics next month and will give detailed reasons why cancer rates were expected to rise.It cites prolonged exposure to pollution, chronic infections and heavy smoking as risk factors. In Sub Saharan African,more than 30% of all men still smoke, consuming a more than ten per cent of cigarettes consumed worldwide.

Contador Harrison