Experts Urge More Efforts to Fight Cancer in Poor Countries
Health experts are calling for action to expand cancer care and control in the developing world. A paper published by the medical journalLancet says cancer was once thought of mostly as a problem in the developed world. But it says cancer is now a leading cause of death and disability in poor countries.
Experts from Harvard Universityand other organizations urge the international community to fight cancer aggressively. They say it should be fought the way HIV/AIDS has been fought in Africa.
Cancer kills more than seven and ahalf million people a year worldwide. The experts say almost two-thirds are in low-income and middle-income countries.
They say cancer kills more people in developing countries than AIDS, tuberculosisand malaria combined. But they say the world spends only five percent of its cancer resources in those countries.
Felicia Knaul from the Harvard Medical School was one of the authors of the paper. Shewas in Mexico when she was found to have breast cancer. She received treatment there. She says the experience showed her the sharp divide between the rich and the poor in treating breast cancer.FELICIA KNAUL: "And we are seeing more and more how this is attacking young women. It's the number two cause of death in Mexico for women thirty to fifty-four. All over the developing world, except thepoorest-poorest, it’s the number one cancer-related death among young women. And, I think we have to again say that there is much more we could do about it than we are doing about it."
Professor Knaulmet community health workers during her work in developing countries. She says they were an important part of efforts to reduce deaths from cervical cancer. They were able to persuade women to gettested and to get vaccinated against a virus that can cause it.
The experts say cancer care does not have to be costly. For example, patients can be treated with lower-cost drugs that are off-patent....
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