WHO Calls for Reducing Inequality in Access to Cancer Care

The global cancer cases are rising. But the low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) would be disproportionately affected in terms of cancer cases and deaths, as per the statement released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday Feb4, 2022.

More Cancer Deaths Expected in LMICs

“By 2040, over 70% of cancer deaths are expected to occur in LMICs”, the statement read. The statement further stated that the situation would be worsened as the recommended interventions for preventing cancer and other noncommunicable diseases have not been adequately implemented, and treatment remains inaccessible in many parts of the world.

Globally, an estimated half of people diagnosed with cancer may require radiotherapy as part of their care, yet many countries do not have a single radiotherapy machine. The disparity is particularly acute in Africa where nearly 70% of countries reported that radiotherapy is generally not available to their populations.

Cancer is a large group of diseases that can start in almost any organ or tissue of the body when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, go beyond their usual boundaries to invade adjoining parts of the body and/or spread to other organs.

WHO urged all countries to form a concrete strategy for cancer prevention and detection. The organization also called for a multi-sectoral, multidisciplinary, and an evidence-based approach founded on universal health coverage for effective cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and palliation.

There were an estimated 18.1 million cancer cases around the world in 2020. Of these, 9.3 million cases were in men and 8.8 million in women. Breast and lung cancers were the most common cancers worldwide, contributing 12.5% and 12.2% of the total number of new cases diagnosed in 2020.