WHO Aims to Save 7 Million in Developing Countries From Cancer

Cancer care is out of reach for many in developing countries.
By on 02/14/2020 12:27 PM

Source: MedicineNet Health News

While recent decades have seen a drastic reduction in cancer death rates in the Western world, developing countries haven't seen as much improvement.

But the World Health Organization announced Tuesday its plans to tackle cancer cases in these poorer countries.

"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," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO, in a news release.

Cancer care is out of reach for many in developing countries, where medical systems are mostly occupied with combating infectious disease, infant mortality and other, more acute health concerns. There aren't a lot of resources left over for the kind of public health programs, diagnostic care, long-term treatment, and doctor expertise that have cut cancer death rates by roughly 20% in wealthy countries between 2000 and 2015.

Cancer deaths in developing countries saw only a 5% drop during this period, the WHO reports.

The WHO will be working with the governments of these developing countries to develop a cancer death reduction plan specific to each. In general, these measures will include vaccinations against HPV (human papilloma virus) and hepatitis B to prevent cervical and liver cancers, respectively. Other measures include tobacco control (smoking is responsible for 25% of cancer deaths) and expanding screening and treatment, as well as providing access to standard chemotherapy drugs and other treatments, according to the WHO.

WHO outlines its plans in its Report on Cancer released Feb. 3, a day in advance of World Cancer Day, according to the organization.

Cancer Facts

MedicineNet author , outlines some basics about cancer, which is really a group of diseases rather than a single type of condition with a single cause:

  • Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body.
  • There are over 200 types of cancer.
  • Anything that may cause a normal body cell to develop abnormally potentially can cause cancer; general categories of cancer-related or causative agents are as follows: chemical or toxic compound exposures, ionizing radiation, some pathogens, and human genetics.
  • Cancer symptoms and signs depend on the specific type and grade of cancer; although general signs and symptoms are not very specific the following can be found in patients with different cancers: fatigue, weight loss, pain, skin changes, change in bowel or bladder function, unusual bleeding, persistent cough or voice change, fever, lumps, or tissue masses.
  • Although there are many tests to screen and presumptively diagnose cancer, the definite diagnosis is made by examination of a biopsy sample of suspected cancer tissue.
  • Cancer staging is often determined by biopsy results and helps determine the cancer type and the extent of cancer spread; staging also helps caregivers determine treatment protocols. In general, in most staging methods, the higher the number assigned (usually between 0 to 4), the more aggressive the cancer type or more widespread the cancer in the body. Staging methods differ from cancer to cancer and need to be individually discussed with your health care provider.
  • Treatment protocols vary according to the type and stage of the cancer. Most treatment protocols are designed to fit the individual patient's disease. However, most treatments include at least one of the following and may include all: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
  • There are many listed home remedies and alternative treatments for cancers but patients are strongly recommended to discuss these before use with their cancer doctors.
  • The prognosis of cancer can range from excellent to poor. The prognosis depends on the cancer type and its staging with those cancers known to be aggressive and those staged with higher numbers (3 to 4) often have a prognosis that ranges more toward poor.

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