Cancer in Tanzania

Did you know? Eighty percent of cancers in Africa are not diagnosed until they are at an advanced stage due in large part to lack of screening and early detection.

A cancer diagnosis is devastating wherever in the world it is delivered–but in northern Tanzania, it is often a death sentence.  While cancer incidence in Africa is about one-third that of North America, the death rate is nearly the same, indicating that survival rates for cancer in Africa are far lower than in more developed countries.

In Tanzania, there are only two cancer treatment centers to serve the entire population of 40 million people. These two clinics have capacity to serve only about 5,000 of the estimated 30,000 new cancer cases each year. For many of the patients who manage to receive treatment, their cancers have already metastasized to the point that administering palliative care becomes the only remaining option.

The five regions that make up the Northern Healthcare Zone of Tanzania see well over 5,000 new cases of cancer every year, but the zone has no designated cancer care facilities. Lack of cancer education, screening services and detection methods means that northern Tanzanians often don’t discover cancer until it is too late. For those patients who could seek treatment, the costs of travel to faraway hospitals and treatment with expensive drugs are often out of the question.

Click here for more statistics about cancer in Africa and northern Tanzania.

Click here to read more about cancer in Tanzania in our white paper, “Meeting the Challenge of Cancer Care in Northern Tanzania”.