Battling Cancer in Africa


For years, the fight against disease in Africa has been synonymous with the fight against two main illnesses: malaria and HIV-AIDS. Now, doctors are battling to save an increasing number of Africans from another killer. Cases of cancer are on the rise. It's partly due to increased awareness, partly to changes in lifestyle and diet and also, in part to the fact some are more vulnerable to cancer because of HIV. Whatever the reasons, there are some stiff challenges ahead as Africa faces down a new killer.

PRI's The World has done extensive coverage of cancer in the developing world.

Battling Cancer in Africa - Uganda Cancer Institute

The struggle to keep Africa's people healthy has been long and tragic. And now a disease usually associated with rich nations is rising quickly up the list of Africa's urgent problems. Researchers say the continent is enduring an explosion of cancer. The World Health Organization projects cancer deaths in Africa will double over the next 20 years if something isn't done soon to control the disease.

At the front lines of the epidemic is Dr. Jackson Orem. He is the Director of the Uganda Cancer Institute. For many years he was the only cancer specialist in the country. He has seen the patient load almost triple in three years. We reached him in Kampala.

Battling Cancer in Africa - The African Medical and Research Foundation

That threat of a new epidemic in Africa has health care agencies scrambling to respond. The African Medical and Research Foundation works across the continent to identify priorities, provide programs and offer advice to governments and aid donors. Anne-Marie Kamanye is the executive director of AMREF Canada. She was in Toronto.

Battling Cancer in Africa - Global Health Care, Queen's University

Western health care models can't typically be applied to Africa. The infrastructure doesn't exist the same way it does in Canada and would be too costly to replicate. So there's lots of room to innovate.

Dr. Karen Yeates is co-director at The Office of Global Health Care at Queen's University. She has won an award for rising stars in global health for developing a new method of screening for cervical cancer in Tanzania. We reached her in Kingston this morning.

If you're interested in hearing more on this issue, PRI's The World has done extensive coverage of cancer in the developing world: ttp://

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry.

Other segments from today's show:

David Suzuki's Andean Adventure

10th Anniversary Interview: Robert Croke

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