Cancer still top killer

DUBLIN - Former world leaders have called on all governments to prioritise cancer as one of the leading causes of death.

DUBLIN - Former world leaders have called on all governments to prioritise cancer as one of the leading causes of death.

The disease is estimated to be killing three million people a year, mainly from developing countries.

Speaking at the global cancer summit in Dublin, Ireland, this week former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo said governments were not giving cancer the attention it deserved.

"Diseases like HIV-Aids, malaria and TB remain at the top of the list of health challenges in many African countries. Governments must change this. They must seek collaborative efforts in the fight against cancer."

The former president said in African countries diagnosing cancer was a unique challenge because there was "no equipment' to do this.

Faisal Al-Fayez, former prime minister of Jordan and a cancer survivor, echoed Obasanjo's sentiments.

"Governments must take responsibility of the cancer burden.

"I know what its like to be diagnosed with a life-threatening disease," he said.

"I share the experiences of those who had to fight for treatment and against the misconceptions that come with the disease."

There are at least 28million cancer survivors in the world and it takes about $305billion (R2, 4trillion) a year to keep them alive. This year about 12,9million new cases will be recorded.

Lance Armstrong, seven-times world champion cyclist, cancer survivor and founder of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which hosted the summit, said: "Cancer will be the leading cause of death next year unless we act on a global level."

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