Note to readers: EL PAÍS offers the Future Planet section for its daily and global information contribution on the 2030 Agenda, the eradication of poverty and inequality, and the progress of developing countries.
If you want to support our journalism,
In 2018, more than one million new cancer cases were declared in Africa.
With many of them likely undiagnosed, the actual number may well be higher.
Fighting this disease in high-income countries with strong health systems relies on prevention and early diagnosis through awareness campaigns and routine screenings for people at risk.
All these actions make it possible to start treating patients in the early stages of the disease, increasing their chances of recovery.
The hardest news to give, death
Hope as a flag against cancer
Blantyre Women's Battle Against Deadliest Cancer
Once diagnosed, a case of cancer requires the coordinated effort of a multidisciplinary team and an adequate technical infrastructure.
But what does the situation look like in Africa, where these measures are not always available?
This video compares France and Malawi, two nations with very different attention and measurements.
In Malawi it has become a public health problem, as MSF recounted in this documentary, for which some 3,600 women fall ill every year and 70% of them die.
This high mortality rate is due to a combination of factors:
- The limited availability of the vaccine against human papilloma in the country.
- The lack of routine controls and awareness campaigns, which often means that cancer is only detected in very advanced stages of the disease.
- Limited access to treatment: only two hospitals in the entire country offer specific care for women diagnosed with cervical cancer and there is not a single place in Malawi to receive radiotherapy.
- The economic barriers to be able to carry out a simple biopsy, whose cost, of about 25 euros, is far from the reach of many women who live on just one dollar a day.
A percentage of the population cannot afford to pay for quality health care.
- The high prevalence of HIV among the population, which only makes things worse: for women living with HIV, the risk of developing cervical cancer is six to eight times higher.
FUTURE PLANET can follow on
, and subscribe
to our 'newsletter'