Equal Cancer Care for all: WHO's steps to save 7 million lives
Every year on the 4th of February, World Cancer Day is observed to raise awareness of the disease and encourage early detection through screenings and prevention through healthy life choices. In 2020, the World Health Organization reveals its intervention report on World Cancer Day to address the pressing need to increase and improve cancer care services in low and middle-income countries, and hopefully, save 7 million lives.
According to their findings, WHO warns that if the current trends continue, the next two decades will see a 60% increase in cancer cases.
The most significant increase (an estimated 81 %) will crop up in low and middle-income countries, which also have the lowest survival rates.
These low statistics are the result of limited health resources that are primarily focused on combating infectious diseases and improving maternal and child health. The burden of non-communicable diseases now outweighs the burden of infectious diseases in every country, and those figures are continuing to rise. It is predicted that by 2040, the global burden of cancer cases will double to about 29-37 million, with the greatest increases in poorer countries.
In 2019, over 90% of high-income countries confirmed that their public health systems were well and suitably equipped to prevent, diagnose, and offer cancer treatment. Low and middle-income countries, however, fell well below the bar, revealing that only 15% had access to comprehensive cancer treatment and services through the public health system.
“Cancer should not be a death sentence”
Dr Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General, Universal Health Coverage/Communicable and Non-communicable Diseases, World Health Organization, states that “This is a wake-up call to all of us to tackle the unacceptable inequalities between cancer services in rich and poor countries. If people have access to primary care and referral systems then cancer can be detected early, treated effectively, and cured. Cancer should not be a death sentence to anyone, anywhere.”
These dire findings, however, do not mean that progress in low-income countries is unachievable; however, it does call for monumental efforts from all countries and governments.
Equal access to cancer care for everyone
Today, two co-ordinated reports were released by WHO and the International Agency for Research on Cancer in response to improved cancer control policies and research across the globe.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO, states that “at least 7 million lives could be saved over the next decade, by identifying the most appropriate science for each country situation, by basing strong cancer responses on universal health coverage, and by mobilizing different stakeholders to work together”
In these new reports, WHO outlines a range of proven steps and interventions to prevent new cancer cases. These include:
- Controlling tobacco use (responsible for 25% of
- Vaccinating against hepatitis B to prevent liver
- Vaccinating against HPV to prevent cervical
- Cancer screening and treatment
- High-impact cancer management interventions
- Access to palliative care including pain relief
The full report, which can be found here, outlines the principles, tools, and current priority cancer control interventions to tackle unequal current and future cancer burdens and opportunities. The challenge for low and middle-income countries will now be to select a suitable cancer treatment that takes into consideration cost, feasibility, and effectiveness.
February 4, 2020
Every year on the 4th of February, World Cancer Day is observed to raise awareness of the disease and encourage early detection through screenings and prevention through healthy life choices
November 28, 2019
Australian Private Health Insurance Premiums Expected to Surge Promises fall through Health Minister Greg Hunt’s avowal to tackle private health insurance premiums has gone belly …
November 14, 2019
PHA proposal for employers to pay for private health insurance The Private Health Insurance sector is speaking up about concerning trends relating to young people …
October 23, 2019
New Muti-Million Dollar Investment Into A Vaccine For Periodontal Gum Disease The 14 million dollar investment into a vaccine for periodontal gum disease has come …
October 21, 2019
Over 100 passengers Fall Ill From Gastro Outbreak on Indian Pacific Train Over 100 passengers who boarded the Indian Pacific train left with more than …