The burden of cancer is rapidly rising in low- and middle-income countries. It is estimated that by 2030, approximately 75% of cancer deaths worldwide will occur in low- and middle-income countries. Reasons for this global shift in the burden of cancer include increasing life expectancy, growing urbanization, rising population levels, and lifestyle changes in low- and middle-income countries. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) — one of the world’s most respected comprehensive centers devoted exclusively to cancer — has devoted more than 135 years to exceptional patient care, innovative research, and outstanding educational programs. As an international leader in cancer medicine, MSK is equally committed to programs that extend beyond a national scope. In 2011, MSK launched the Global Cancer Disparities Initiatives (GCDI) program to advance its mission to improve outcomes for people with cancer in low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr. Isaac Alatise, a Nigerian surgeon, came to MSK for clinical training and research education in 2009 with the support of the philanthropic Alireza Soudavar and Mammadi Soudavar Memorial Funds. Following this visit, MSK established a partnership with Dr. Alatise’s home institution, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH) in Ile Ife, Nigeria.
This collaboration proved to be mutually beneficial, and subsequently, the Global Cancer Disparities Initiatives (GCDI) program was established at MSK in 2011 to harness MSK’s expertise to address cancer burden globally. Aligned with this effort, Dr. T. Peter Kingham, Director of Global Cancer Disparities Initiatives, and Dr. Alatise founded the African Research Group for Oncology (ARGO) in 2013 to facilitate cancer research and training initiatives in Nigeria. ARGO, an NCI-recognized research consortium, seeks to generate data, to inform regional evidence-based management recommendations, identify effective cancer prevention and early detection strategies, increase access to cancer care, and improve cancer-care training in rural and underserved communities. The ARGO consortium has grown to now include 26 institutions across Nigeria, ten of which actively participate in research studies.
In 2022, with the growth and expansion of the GCDI program, Dr. Victoria Mango joined as the Assistant Director. In addition to extensive work in Nigeria, the program has expanded to include MSK faculty from the Departments of Radiology and Pathology who are working in East Africa addressing education, clinical work, and research related to breast cancer.
Contact the GDCI Program Manager, Kate Randolph: [email protected]