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Report Says Developing Countries Remain Unprepared For Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment

“Developing countries will bear 60 percent of the world’s cancer burden by 2020 and 70 percent by 2030,” according to a report released Thursday during the World Cancer Congress in Shenzhen, China, Reuters reports. These countries also lack the necessary “infrastructure … to prevent cancer, diagnose it early or provide long-term treatment, according to CanTreat International, which comprises experts from leading international cancer organizations,” the news service writes.

In 2008, 5.3 million of the 7.6 million cancer fatalities reported worldwide were in developing countries. Similarly, developing countries comprised the majority of new cancer cases in 2008, making up 56 percent of the 12.67 million new cases of cancer reported that year. According to Reuters, “low-income countries alone will account for three-quarters of all cancer deaths” by 2050.

The article details the factors contributing to the rising number of cancer cases in the developing world as well as the disparities in cancer survival rates in developed versus developing countries. The article includes several comments by Joseph Saba, a medical doctor and member of CanTreat International (Lyn, 8/19).

In related news, Health-e reports on plans for a 2011 U.N. General Assembly meeting, which will focus on non-communicable diseases and could serve to bolster recognition of cancer’s threat in low-income countries – a point made by Ala Alwan of the WHO during his Wednesday speech to the World Cancer Congress.

Alwan “pointed out that cancer had historically been poorly supported by development agencies and big donors despite the fact that 8-million people died before they reached 60 in developing countries from cancer and other non-communicable diseases,” according to the news service. Alwan also noted the overlap between intervention strategies that target cancer as well as other non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, according to Health-e (Thom, 8/18).