Increase in cancer will hit poorer countries hardest

Categories: Research.

The State of oncology 2013 report, by the International Prevention Research Institute (IPRI), suggests that the growth and ageing of the world’s population and the continual increase in the underlying incidence rates in low- and middle-income countries will contribute to increases in the global cancer burden.

The report, which provides a global picture of cancer, suggests that the heaviest burden will be experienced by low and middle income countries, where the proportion of the population aged over 65 is expected to increase by between 5% and 10% by 2030, with an associated increase in cancer incidence rates.

The number of cancer diagnosis in Africa is predicted to  double over the next fifteen years, leading to questions of how many lower-resource countries, which do not have the resources to cope with current cancer rates, will cope with this rise.

The report also highlight the wide variations in the availability and quality of supportive and palliative care around the world and within countries and how for many countries the availability of opioids is limited or absent. It also highlights variations in availability of facilities and oncologists, as well as incidence and mortality rates.

The report concludes with a number of recommendations, including the universal provision of palliative, supportive and terminal care at every part of the cancer pathway: at the time of surgery, radiotherapy and during chemotherapy. Training and access to morphine is key for this.

A copy of the report can be requested from the IPRI, and there is a short film of Professor Peter Boyle, one of the editors of the report, discussing their findings and recommendations on YouTube.

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