Global Health Community Should Prioritize Efforts To Address Cancer

The Lancet: Offline: Why has global health forgotten cancer?
Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet

“…Cancer’s undeserved neglect makes it the Cinderella of the emerging [noncommunicable disease (NCD)] movement. As health diplomats celebrate their political success, millions of people living with cancer will be consigned to early and painful deaths. Nothing illustrates the embedded irrationality of global health more than our attitudes to cancer. … Cancer should be a major health priority in the poorest countries. That is true today. It is even more true if one looks only a short distance into the future. … By 2030, the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer is projected to rise to 3.2 million. It is entirely wrong to suggest that cancer should only be a concern for richer nations. As to [universal health coverage (UHC)] filling the gap in cancer care, one mistake made by UHC advocates is that repeating the mantra of universal coverage is empty rhetoric without specifying the services that UHC should include. Too often, cancer treatment is absent from the debate about UHC. … The global health community has long let down those living with cancer. It is inexplicable that it continues to do so” (9/8).

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