Cancer in Africa: a preventable public health crisis

  • L. G. Sambo
  • J. M. Dangou
  • C. Adebamowo
  • C. F. Albrecht
  • C. Gombé-Mbalawa
  • T. Ngoma
  • M. Moeti
  • B. H. Sambo
Health Policy / Politique de Santé


Cancer in sub-Saharan Africa is a latent public health crisis. Its burden is expected to increase, as people in this region live longer with reduced risk of death from infectious diseases and increasingly adopt lifestyles that include tobacco use, unhealthy diet, the harmful use of alcohol and reduced physical activity. Promotion of healthy lifestyles including anti-tobacco and alcohol legislation, immunization, early diagnosis by screening target populations and surveillance and monitoring are available to stem this tide. Alarm must be raised now, before it is too late. Africa can avoid a significant proportion of the cancer scourge that lies ahead. This requires the development and implementation of proactive national cancer prevention and control programmes, which are guided by sound scientific evidence. Governments and partners need to grasp the importance of the growing cancer burden in the region and reflect this awareness in their budget and funding policies as recommended in the African Regional Strategy for Cancer Prevention and Control.


Cancer Public health Africa 

Le cancer en Afrique: une crise évitable pour la santé publique


En Afrique subsaharienne, le cancer représente une crise latente de santé publique. On s’attend à ce que son fardeau augmente dans cette région parallèlement à l’augmentation de l’espérance de vie des populations, à la réduction de la mortalité due aux maladies infectieuses et à l’adoption plus fréquente de mode de vie malsains tels que l’usage du tabac, un régime alimentaire déséquilibré, la consommation nocive d’alcool et l’inactivité physique. La promotion de modes de vie sains incluant une législation contre le tabac et l’alcool, la vaccination, le diagnostic précoce par un dépistage de groupes-cibles, la surveillance et le suivi sont des stratégies disponibles pour arrêter cette marée. L’heure est venue de sonner l’alarme avant qu’il ne soit trop tard. L’Afrique peut éviter une proportion significative du fléau à venir de cancer. Ceci exige l’élaboration et la mise en oeuvre de programmes nationaux de prévention et de contrôle de cancer qui soient proactifs reposant sur des bases factuelles. Les gouvernements et les partenaires doivent saisir l’importance du fardeau croissant du cancer dans la région et refléter cette prise de conscience dans leur budget et les politiques de financement comme recommandé dans la Stratégie régionale africaine de prévention et de contrôle du cancer.

Mots clés

Cancer Santé publique Afrique 


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Copyright information

© Springer Verlag France 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. G. Sambo
    • 1
  • J. M. Dangou
    • 1
  • C. Adebamowo
    • 2
  • C. F. Albrecht
    • 3
  • C. Gombé-Mbalawa
    • 4
  • T. Ngoma
    • 5
  • M. Moeti
    • 1
  • B. H. Sambo
    • 1
  1. 1.World Health OrganizationRegional Office for AfricaBrazzavilleDemocratic Republic of Congo
  2. 2.Institute of Human VirologyAbujaNigeria
  3. 3.Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA)BedfordviewSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of OncologyBrazzaville Teaching HospitalBrazzavilleDemocratic Republic of Congo
  5. 5.Ocean Road Cancer InstituteDar-Es-SalamTanzania

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