Cheap cancer measures could save hundreds of thousands of lives in poor countries

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Health interventions costing as little as $1.72 per person could prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths from breast and cervical cancer in developing countries, scientists said on Tuesday.

Nearly 800,000 women die of cervical and breast cancer every year, with two thirds of breast cancer deaths and 9 out of 10 cervical cancer deaths in developing countries, they said in a study published in The Lancet medical journal.

While some diagnostic and treatment options such as mammography and radiotherapy are often not available in poor countries, several low-cost interventions have a potential to save lives, the scientists said.

“There is a widespread misconception that breast and cervical cancers are too difficult and expensive to prevent and treat, particularly in resource-poor countries where the burden of these diseases is highest,” Ophira Ginsburg from the University of Toronto said in a statement.

“But nothing could be further from the truth. Recent estimates suggest that a basic cancer control package could be introduced in low- and middle-income countries for as little as $1.72 per person – equivalent to just 3 percent of current health spending in these countries.”

Source: Thomas Reuters Foundation News (link opens in a new window)

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