16 August 2010

Cancer care in developing countries

Cancer is now the leading cause of death and disability in poorer countries, according to a paper to be published online in the Lancet.

Cancer was once thought to be a problem primarily in the developed world, it is now the leading cause of death and disability in poorer countries. Almost two-thirds of the 7.6 million cancer deaths in the world occur in low- and middle-income countries.

"The provision of adequate health care in settings of poverty is by definition difficult, but the past two decades have taught us that setting our standards high can help bring new resources to bear on old problems," says Farmer, who is also executive vice president, and cofounder, of Partners In Health. "The integration of cancer prevention and care where both are needed is precisely what we need to do if we are to make the response to the challenge as global as cancer itself. There are clearly effective interventions that can prevent or ease suffering due to many malignancies, and that is surely our duty as physicians or policy makers or health advocates."

  • Raise global awareness of the impact of cancer on developing countries, creating a call to action on both the global and national level. 
  • Define the packages of essential services and treatments needed to provide care in low-resource settings for cancers that can be cured or palliated with currently available therapies.
  • Increase access to the best treatment for cancer through the procurement of affordable drugs and services.
  • Reduce human suffering from all cancers through universal access to pain control and palliation.
  • Develop and evaluate successful service delivery models in different economic and health system settings and share the lessons and evidence globally.
  • Expand the leadership, stewardship and evidence base for implementing the most efficient approaches to cancer care and control in developing countries.


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