Cancer in Latin America: what is the panorama of the region?

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Despite being a disease that is increasing, access to cancer treatment is an impossible mission in Latin America

Cancer in Latin America: what is the panorama of the region?

Cancer, as is well known, represents a huge global health challenge. In fact, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an intergovernmental body that is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), this disease is a great challenge in health worldwide. it is expected that by the year 2040 the incidence of the same will grow by 63% and the number of deaths will reach up to 71.5%.

Leer en español: Cáncer en Latinoamérica: ¿cuál es el panorama de la región?

In Latin America, however, the situation is more serious: despite the fact that early diagnosis and access to treatment are more difficult in this region, Globocan data from 2018 reveal that every two minutes five people receive a diagnosis of cancer.

Currently, 1.4 million new cases are registered in the region, but the number is expected to grow by 78% in the next 21 years, reaching 2.5 million per year.

A report published by The Economist, entitled "Cancer Control, Access, and Inequality in Latin America: A History of Lights and Shadows", reveals some of the main problems that the region faces in the diagnosis of cancer.

In the first place, despite the fact that in Latin America a large population is concentrated in rural areas, human resources and specialized equipment for the control of the disease are concentrated in urban areas, so that the diagnosis is much less likely.

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In addition, according to data from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), about 30% of the population does not have access to health care for economic reasons in Latin America and the Caribbean, which, added to the fact that it exists a clear correlation between a lower socioeconomic level and a lower rate of cancer survival indicates that those with less money do not receive the same quality of screening and care.

It also has to do with a question that government budgets for health in Latin America, as compared to other developed countries, are minimal and, often, cancer has had low priority.

For example, it is known that the number of oncological personnel is scarce in Brazil, where the number of qualified oncology nurses would cover only half of the current needs of Sao Paulo.

It should be added, also, that the physical and technological resources and the most common equipment for diagnosis and cancer care are quite scarce in Latin America, which makes it very difficult to live with this disease in the region.

It is necessary that the political community proposes initiatives and laws that solve this huge health problem in the region and stop putting a black shadow on the subject.


LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez

Translated from "Cáncer en Latianomérica: ¿cuál es el panorama de la región?"

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