Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 10 million deaths in 2021, nearly one in six deaths. Cancer-causing infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis, are responsible for approximately 30% of cancer cases in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated weaknesses in health systems, and many countries report that cancer screening and treatment have been partially or completely disrupted since 2020.
Many cancers can be cured if detected early and treated effectively but cancer care reflects the inequalities of our world. Treatment is available in more than 90% of high-income countries but in less than 15% of low-income countries.
Despite being a critical component of cancer treatment, access to radiotherapy is still inadequate, particularly in low-income countries. The situation is particularly acute in Africa where nearly 70% of the countries report not having access to radiotherapy.