Unmet Needs in Oncology Clinical Research and Treatment in Africa: Focus on Ghana

Lewis R. Roberts, Brian M. Rivers, Clayton C. Yates, Lisa A. Newman, Benjamin D. Sarkodie, Melissa B. Davis, Yaw Asare-Aboagye, Alex A. Adjei, Adalynn E. Harris, Baffour Awuah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer incidence is increasing worldwide and is a major cause of mortality. The relative magnitude of the increase is remarkably high in low human development index (HDI; 95%) and medium HDI (64%) countries. On the African continent, a corresponding increase in cancer burden is predicted, particularly for sub-Saharan Africa. Current epidemiologic data indicate that mortality rates of certain cancers, such as breast and cervical cancers, in sub-Saharan Africa are the highest in the world, and the cancer risks are broadly comparable to the risks in high-income countries, such as the United States and Europe. Although emerging data alludes to the unique genetic profile of cancer in African populations, most cancer therapies are introduced to Africa without confirmatory clinical trials. Therefore, there is an increasing need for clinical trials directed toward prevention, screening, diagnosis, and identification of innovative treatments in the African context. This review will discuss the increasing cancer burden in Africa, with a particular focus on Ghana, unmet clinical needs in cancer, current medical systems, clinical trial regulatory systems, and challenges to clinical trial recruitment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-767
Number of pages8
JournalThe oncologist
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2022


  • Ghana
  • cancer burden
  • clinical trial
  • disparities in cancer care
  • sub-Saharan Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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