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Half the World not Ready for Cancer Prevention and Management, WHO Says

Update Date: Feb 03, 2013 04:48 AM EST

A recent survey conducted by the World Health Organisation for World Cancer Day found over 50 percent of all countries around the world ill-equipped to treat, prevent or provide chronic care to cancer patients.

These countries do not have a full-proof plan that would look into all the aspects of cancer, starting from its prevention, providing tests to diagnose it in its benign stage, and providing relevant treatment and care for the cancer patients. The WHO found an urgent requirement to assist these countries to lower their cancer-related death rates and provide guidance in the long-term treatment. These steps would lower the people's suffering and also help in the socioeconomic development of the country.

In the year 2008, 7.6 million people died from cancer, and every year there are 13 million newly-diagnosed cases, making it the leading cause of mortality worldwide. Alarmingly, almost two-third of these deaths occur in developing countries. Many of these deaths can be avoided as they are due to tobacco use, obesity, alcohol abuse, and infections. Also, early diagnosis of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer leads to its complete cure.

"Cancer should not be a death sentence anywhere in the world as there are proven ways to prevent and cure many cancers. In order to reduce exposure to risk factors leading to cancer and ensure that every person living with cancer gets access to appropriate care and treatment, comprehensive cancer control programs need to be set up in every country," Dr. Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, said in an organization news release.

The Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (GICR) was introduced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of WHO to support the member states in measuring their cancer cases and to gather information pertaining to it. The first regional center was set in Mumbai, India, in 2012 and the next was in Izmir, Turkey, which will become fully functional this year.

"This initiative is supporting mainly those countries that lack the resources to efficiently fight the rapidly growing cancer burden. Better data on cancer occurrence will help governments to make the most of their limited resources and direct funds and activities to the areas where they are needed most," Dr. Christopher Wild, director of IARC, said in the news release.

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