Middle-income countries bear maximum brunt of cancer deaths

Toronto, Nov 13 (IANS) Of the eight million cancer deaths worldwide in 2012, five million occurred in middle-income countries and 500,000 in low-income countries, says a new study led by an Indian-origin researcher.

Many of these cancer patients received no effective treatment and no opioid drugs to control severe pain, or their families became impoverished paying for treatment, the findings showed.

Investments in cancer control — prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care — are increasingly needed in low- and, particularly, middle-income countries, where most of the world’s cancer deaths occur, the study said.

The recommended interventions would cost an additional $20 billion per year for all low- and -middle income countries, said Prabhat Jha from St. Michael’s Hospital in Ontario, Canada.

The researchers outlined a series of practicable, cost-effective strategies for countries to address most of their preventable or treatable cancer burdens.

Prevention of tobacco-related cancer (through higher taxes, leading to smoking cessation) and virus-related liver and cervical cancer (through vaccination for Hepatitis B and HPV), diagnosis and treatment of early breast cancer, cervical cancer and selected childhood cancers.

The study, published in the journal The Lancet, also recommended widespread availability and use of palliative care and pain management, including opioids.

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