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Vital Stories

Advancements in Cancer Staging in Africa

Franco Afyusisye reviews the cancer reporting form with cancer registrars from Dar es Salaam during a technical visit.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, claiming the lives of 9.7 million people in 2022. The World Health Organization reported that 70% of those deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries, underscoring continuing inequities in accessing health care. This year, equity takes center stage on World Cancer Day, Feb. 4, with the theme “Close the Care Gap.”

Vital Strategies’ Cancer Registry Program, part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Data for Health Initiative, works with ministries of health and their partners to establish and strengthen population-based cancer registries, create regional centers of excellence, and use the data for more effective policymaking.

Population-based cancer registries strive to track every cancer case within specific communities to better understand the cancer burden. This crucial data equips policymakers and public health officials with the information needed to shape effective cancer control policies and programs at local and national levels.

Cancer registries are even more important in the context of staging. Accurate cancer staging is essential for guiding patient care and informing public health policies. However, significant gaps exist in staging at diagnosis, especially in low- and middle-income countries, due to incomplete medical records and varying staging methods.

In our recent technical exchange webinar, “Enhancing Information on Stage at Diagnosis of Cancer in Africa,” public health experts presented key findings from their cancer staging training and research efforts with global peers. Their work is instrumental in strengthening the capacity of cancer registries to accurately stage at the point of diagnosis and improve cancer surveillance and control. 

Speakers include: 

  • Dr. Elima Jedy-Agba, Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria 
  • Ms. Biying Liu, African Cancer Registry Network 
  • Dr. Gladys Chebet Chesumbai, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR) Collaborating Center, Kenya 
  • Mr. Franco Afuysisye, Cancer Registrar, Tanzania 

Coming soon in Spring 2024! New GICR E-learning course covering all aspects of cancer registration.