Referencing the recently published Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life, the editorial states that while “palliative care for patients with cancer has emerged as an important subspecialty in high-income countries in the past 20 – 30 years, the need for such care is now recognised to be much broader, both medically and geographically.”
The article highlights the key findings from the Global Atlas, and the steps that are needed to address the unequal distribution of palliative care services globally.
Commenting on the unequal access to palliative care, and the reasons for this, the article concludes: “While preventive and curative approaches in oncology will remain important to people in rich and poor countries alike, provision of effective pain relief and humane care in the palliative setting must become much more consistent. Patients with cancer and other terminal disorders deserve better, everywhere.”
Issue 9916 of The Lancet also includes a mini-series on ‘the cancer wars’, which are free to access for non-subscribers:
- In Global cancer patterns: causes and prevention, Prof Paolo Vineis PhD and Christopher P Wild PhD argue that primary prevention should be prioritised as an integral part of global cancer control.
- In Rethinking the war on cancer, Prof Douglas Hanahan PhD writes about the battle metaphors used in the treatment of cancer, and suggests that, much like in modern warfare, the war on cancer needs to have a battlespace vision.
- In Cancer survival: global surveillance will stimulate health policy and improve equity, Prof Michel P Coleman FFPH argues that global surveillance of cancer survival is needed, “because unless these avoidable inequalities are measured, and reported on regularly, nothing will be done explicitly to reduce them.”