In common with the majority of African countries, Cameroon faces a growing number of cancer cases, estimated to rise from almost 12 000 in 2008 to more than 20 000 cases by 2030 (GLOBOCAN, 2008). Breast and cervical cancers account for more than half of cancers among women, while prostate and liver comprise more than a third of cancers for men.
In response to the growing need to address Cameroon's cancer burden, H.E. Minister of Public Health, Mr. Andre Mama Fouda, requested the IAEA to conduct an imPACT mission to assess the national cancer control capacity and needs in the country. The mission was conducted from 10 to 14 June 2013.
A multi-disciplinary team of experts, nominated by the IAEA, World Health Organization (WHO) and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) undertook the imPACT mission that assessed the different areas of Cameroon's cancer control measures, including cancer information/registration, prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment and palliative care. In its review, the team also determined how the country's civil society activities contribute to cancer control.
The mission team made site visits and met representatives from the Yaoundé General and Central Hospitals, Mbankomo District Hospital, a private clinic in Douala, the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and civil society organizations. During these visits, the mission experts collected data and information from their Cameroonian counterparts involved in the provision of cancer-related services.
Cameroon has cancer centres at Yaoundé General Hospital and Douala General Hospital. However, at present only Douala has a functional radiotherapy facility. Constraints in patients' access to cancer treatment (radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgical services) present a significant challenge for Cameroon's cancer control programme.
A comprehensive imPACT Mission Report will be delivered to the Minister of Public Health, including the expert team's detailed findings and recommendations. The report is designed to assist Cameroon to improve cancer services and reduce the cancer burden in the long term.
The imPACT mission to Cameroon was supported by the Peaceful Uses Initiative and implemented through IAEA Technical Cooperation Project RAF/6/043, Supporting Comprehensive Cancer Control in Africa.