Limited Access to Modern Treatment Options

Olapade-Olaopa and colleagues reported earlier this year that, “In Africa, most patients with CaP present with advanced disease, and surgical castration is the most common treatment option, as most modern treatment strategies for the disease are unavailable or unaffordable.”

They note that, based on a detailed literature review and direct interviews with other physicians and other health care executives, in Africa, most patients with CaP present with advanced disease, and surgical castration is the most common treatment option, as most modern treatment strategies for the disease are unavailable or unaffordable. A significant proportion of these men progress to hormone-resistant disease shortly after first-line hormonal treatment, and a majority die within 2 years. Problems that are peculiar to the African continent include poor health facilities, scarcity of expert care, high cost of treatment, lack of data, low level of awareness of the disease, absence of early detection and treatment programs, cultural limitations, and the prominence of alternative medical practice.

Increasing Prevalence of Cancer in Africa

An article in the September 10 issue of the Nairobi-published Business Daily has addressed “the increasing onslaught” of cancer in Africa, calling out increasing risk for prostate cancer as one specific factor.

The article goes on to note that, “Although many of the cancers found in Africa are preventable or treatable when detected early enough, the grim picture of insufficient resources and a lack of basic infrastructure mean that most Africans have no access to cancer screening, early diagnosis, treatment or palliative care.”

Current World Health Organization (WHO) projections suggest that more than 1 million new cancer diagnoses each year in Africa by 2020. A significant proportion of those cases can be expected to be prostate cancers, and most of the prostate cancer diagnoses can currently be expected to be made too late for curative treatment to be effective.