Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A cancerous social system

There are now more than 100 different drugs for the treatment of cancer, and nearly 300 surgical procedures. However, these resources are not spread equally around the world. While 95 percent of global cancer spending occurs in the developed world, a majority of cancer cases and deaths occur in the low- to middle-income countries like India, Brazil, and nations in Eastern Europe.

The Lancet, found that while 80 percent of cancer cases require surgery, less than a quarter of people worldwide who need it will actually get safe, affordable, and timely procedures. Less than 5 percent of cancer patients in low-income countries will get it. According to the study, 2015 will see 15.2 million new cancer cases worldwide and 8.8 million cancer deaths—65 percent of those deaths will occur in the developing world, while 35 percent will occur in the developed world.

The biggest impediment to creating more equal access to cancer treatment, the study found, is the lack of universal health care. "Equity, shared responsibility, and quality cancer surgical delivery to patients, irrespective of ability to pay, are the goals of global cancer and global cancer surgery," the study concluded. "This is only achieved via universal health coverage."

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