28 African countries have no access to radiotherapy cancer treatment

28 African countries have no access to radiotherapy cancer treatment

Yesterday, 4th February 2018, marked World Cancer Day which aims to unite the world’s population in the fight against cancer.

The international day hopes to save millions of preventable deaths by raising awareness about cancer, pressing governments to take action and educating people.

However, a recent report by the International Atomic Energy Agency  (IAEA)has reported the lack of a single radiotherapy machine in 28 African countries.

Radiotherapy is one of the leading treatments of cancer around the globe and uses high-energy rays to destroy cancerous cells. It is generally considered the most effective form of cancer treatment.

According to the IAEA, millions of people in developing countries continue to suffer from due to a lack of effective prevention, screening diagnosis and treatment.

The lack of radiotherapy machines highlights the significant disparity between access to cancer treatment around the world.

The figures were announced by Yukiya Amano, Director General of IAEA, at a World Cancer Day event; however, the 28 countries were not identified.

Yukiya Amano commented

“The IAEA will continue to work hard to change [the lack of radiotherapy machines], and to improve facilities in other regions of the world where the need is also great”.

Yukiya also noted that one of IAEA’s priorities will be to continually support Member States in providing better cancer treatment for their populations, with the challenges faced by developing countries being a key focus.

Cancer is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide with approximately 14 million new cases and 8 million deaths each year. 

Cancer can be overshadowed in developing countries by other diseases; however 57% of all cancers occur in developing countries. Furthermore, there are concerns that the number of new cancer cases could rise in developing countries by 70% over the next 20 years.


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Image credit: Vancouver's BC Cancer Agency

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