… And this is Old news! Courtesy of “GEMS -Government Employees Medical Scheme“. Peep! FANGGG!!!

CANCER is now claiming the lives of more people in developing countries each year than AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria, according to health experts.

Their report, issued before World Cancer Day tomorrow, said more than 12 million new cases of cancer had been diagnosed worldwide last year, with 7.6 million deaths among them. More than half of all new cases and around 60% of the deaths occurred in developing countries, where poor medical infrastructure often meant cancer was a death sentence.

David Kerr, a professor of clinical pharmacology and cancer therapeutics at the Oxford University, who contributed to the report, said cancer in the developing world was a hidden crisis that went largely unreported, undiagnosed and untreated. He added that cancer survival rates in developing countries were exceptionally poor. Lack of awareness, stigma, and reliance on traditional healers meant most people did not seek medical help until their disease was advanced and often incurable. According to the report, issued by health foundation and consultancy Axios International, there could be 20 million new cases of cancer and 13 million deaths a year by 2030.

The report says there are several reasons why the incidence of cancer – which previously found a stronghold in rich economies – is increasing so fast in poorer countries. One is that people are living longer, and the risk of cancer rises with age. Another is the spread of modern lifestyles, characterised by smoking, drinking, little exercise, and diets high in fat and sugar and low in roughage. A third factor is cancers’ that are related to infection, such as the human papillomavirus, which is linked to cervical and colorectal tumours; liver cancer, which is linked to hepatitis B and C viruses; stomach cancer, caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori; and Kaposi’s sarcoma, caused by the herpes virus. Vulnerability has been increased by the damage HIV/AIDS does to immune systems. In low- and middle-income countries, the three most commonly diagnosed cancers are lung, stomach and liver in men, and breast, cervical and stomach cancer among women.

But early warning infrastructure to alert people at risk – as well as the doctors and drugs to treat them effectively -can be pitifully absent in such countries. For example, in the developed world, 63% of women have access to cervical screening, but only 19% do in developing countries. Joseph Saba, chief executive officer of Axios, said significant progress had been made in the early detection of many cancers, in particular breast and cervical, yet nearly four in five people with cancer in developing countries were not diagnosed until they had late-stage disease.

SAPA-AFP via the Cape Times, 3 February 2009