Author Topic: Half a Million Africans Die From Cancer Annually -Says World Health Organization  (Read 310 times)

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Offline Nairaland

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The World Health Organization says about half a million Africans die of cancer each year, or six percent of global cancer deaths annually.

The leading cancers in Africa affect the breast, cervix and prostate, according to WHO.

Dr. Andre Ilbawi, the technical officer for cancer control at WHO headquarters in Geneva, says the cause of the illness in Africa is not always clear, though factors that may contribute to breast cancer include alcohol use, obesity and lack of physical activity.

Weakened immune systems also play a role, making people susceptible to many infections and diseases, including the human papilloma virus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer.

"Women in Africa have a higher rate of HIV, which makes worse the effect of HPV," Ilbawi said, "so we see the combination of infectious causes really can explain the majority of cervical cancer cases in Africa and elsewhere."

Ilbawi says other infections, besides HPV, also can lead to cancer.

"We know the immune system plays a very important role in fighting cancer. And in some situations, infections can cause cancer themselves," he said. "It's not always as easy as saying malaria triggers cancer years down the line for someone exposed to malaria, but we do know there are some cause and effects for infectious causes of cancer in Africa. Some include hepatitis B and C, [which] contribute to liver cancer. There are infections in the stomach that can contribute to gastric cancer so infections both directly and by weakening the immune system can contribute to cancer cases."



 

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