Infection-related cancers in sub-saharan Africa: a paradigm for cancer prevention and control

Oncology. 2013;84(2):75-80. doi: 10.1159/000343151. Epub 2012 Oct 31.


There is much commonality between chronic noncommunicable and communicable diseases which is best exemplified by cancers of infectious origin. It provides the perfect opportunity for harnessing the advances that have been made in the control of communicable diseases to attempt the control of noncommunicable diseases. There are possibilities at various levels of intervention, at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, which fit well within a well-planned national cancer control strategy. Prevention should proceed through steps of disruption of transmission, improvement in disease recognition and diagnosis, as well as through prompt effective treatment. This principle should work for both infection and the resultant cancer. Research is very important in understanding how best to use the available knowledge and how best to sequentially implement strategies. Finally, policies that acknowledge infection-related cancers as a major problem in the region should be in place.

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases / transmission*
  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Humans
  • Infections / transmission*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors