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Cancer Control in Developing Countries (BAC D 2010)

In absolute terms, the majority of cancers in the world occur in developing countries, and the rates for certain specific cancers, exceed those in developed countries. For people in developing countries who reach the age of five years, cancer is among the three most common causes of death. In addition, the cancer burden is increasing as the diseases are not carefully controlled, as life expectancy in developing countries increases, as life styles and personal habits change, and as countries become more industrialized. There is a need for developing countries to initiate effective and efficient programmes to combat cancer. While only a few developing countries will be able to allocate substantial additional resources to cancer control, much could be achieved with proper distribution of existing resources.

The main objectives of a cancer control programme are: to prevent cancers from occurring, to reduce the morbidity and mortality from cancers that do occur, and to provide optimal care to cancer patients; it is important to recognize that cancer control activities are already being conducted to a greater or lesser degree in every country, for example virtually all countries have some facilities for diagnosing and treating cancer patients. Unfortunately, cancer control activities in most countries have been developed haphazardly and lack over-all coordination, which leads to a waste of resources and unnecessary mortality.

The development of a national cancer control programme can help correct this inefficiency by: setting priorities in order to make the most effective use of existing resources, indicating the value of additional cancer control activities, and anticipating changes in the incidence and relative frequency of specific cancers and determining the resources needed to control them. A systematic evaluation of cancer activities and the careful design of a national cancer programme are important even if cancer is not high priority among current health problems and even if the budget available to combat cancer cannot be increased.

Bulletin of the World Health Organisation vol. N°62 (6) p. 847, 1984

Guided Commentary

1)      According to the text, which countries suffer the most from cancer? (2 points)

2)      What, in the text, shows that cancer is a worldwide disease? (2 points)

3)      In your own words say what "morbidity and mortality from cancers" mean in the text. (3 points)

4)      Based on the text, what are the causes of the increase of the cancer burden in developing countries? (3 points)

5)      Despite the lack of important additional resources what could help fight cancer, according to the text? (4 points)

6)      Nowadays many people suffer from cancer. Suggest ways and means to reduce this disease in your country. (6 points)

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