Cancer No Longer a Disease of the Rich

BOSTON, Aug. 16 (UPI) — Cancer is no longer a disease of the rich, with two-thirds of annual cancer deaths worldwide occurring in developing countries, U.S. researchers said.

Julio Frenk, dean of the Harvard School of Public Health; Felicia Knaul, director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative; Paul Farmer of the Harvard Medical School; Lawrence Shulman, chief medical officer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and 19 colleagues said fatality rates in low-income countries are 75 percent, in lower middle-income 72 percent and in upper middle-income 64 percent.

However, a high-income countries experience a 46 percent cancer fatality rate.

“In most parts of the world cancer is a sorely neglected health problem and a significant cause of premature death,” Frenk said in a statement. “To correct this situation we must address the staggering ’5/80 cancer disequilibrium,’ that is, the fact that low- and middle-income countries account for almost 80 percent of the burden of disease due to cancer yet receive only 5 percent of global resources devoted to deal with this emerging challenge.”

The authors are working toward:

– Raising global awareness of the impact of cancer on developing countries.

– Defining essential services and treatments needed to provide care in low-resource settings.

– Increasing access to the best cancer treatment.

– Reducing human suffering from all cancers.

– Developing and evaluating successful service delivery models.

The findings are published in The Lancet.

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