Today, on 4 February, WHO joins the international community in commemorating World Cancer Day under the theme “I am and I will”, marking the end point of this three-year campaign, which has sought to reduce fear, increase understanding and change behaviours and attitudes around cancer.

Over the past 20 years, new cancer cases have more than doubled in the African Region, from 338,000 cases reported in 2002 to almost 846,000 cases in 2020. The most common forms are cancers of the breast, cervix, prostate, bowel, colon, rectum and liver. The risk factors include older age and family history, use of tobacco and alcohol, a diet high in sugar, salt and fat, physical inactivity, being overweight, and exposure to specific chemicals, among others.

Industry interference is a growing challenge, including promotion and marketing of known cancer-causing products, such as tobacco. Forty-four countries in the Region have ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control towards reducing tobacco use and 20 have ratified the WHO Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products…more