The Fight Against Cancer Gets a Boost in Sub-Saharan Africa
National Cancer Registry media statement:
The National Cancer Registry (NCR), a division of the National Health Laboratory Service, is honoured to be named one of three IARC-GICR Collaborating Centres for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) by the International Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) Global Initiative for Cancer Registry development (GICR).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified childhood cancers and cervical cancer as global priorities. While 80% of children diagnosed with cancer in high-income countries survive, only 20% of children with cancer in low and middle-income countries survive. The WHO has made childhood cancer a global priority to reduce these disparities and improve cancer outcomes for children.
Cervical cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in women in South Africa and SSA. The WHO has launched a global strategy to eliminate cervical cancer which involves increasing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in girls to 90%, twice-lifetime cervical screening to 70%, and treatment of cervical pre-cancer and cancer to 90% (also known as the 90-70-90 cervical cancer elimination strategy).
As the IARC-GICR Collaborating Centre, the NCR will be responsible for building capacity for childhood cancer registration in cancer registries in SSA. The NCR will also be responsible for training cancer registries on linking patient records from HPV vaccination registers, cervical cancer screening registers and cancer registries for monitoring the progress of cervical cancer elimination in SSA.
Acting Head of the NCR, Dr Mazvita Muchengeti says that “Our data systems for HPV vaccination, cervical cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and death registration are fragmented. We need to harmonise these data sources in order to accurately measure progress towards cervical cancer control and to make policies that work in SSA. A global and regional partnership, along with the mobilization of networks for sharing knowledge and experiences, is crucial to cervical cancer control.”
She added that “as a part of reducing global disparities in the survival of children with cancer, we need data-driven policies. Every child with cancer should be counted and the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed so that we can adequately allocate resources to control childhood cancer.”