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Global Healthbeat: Getting a Handle on Cancer in Developing Countries


The Global Health International Council convenes in Washington D.C. May 29 - June 1, and one topic experts will be discussing is that of cancer in the developing world. In the past year or so, researchers and organizations like WHO, and INCTR have sounded the alarm on the major disease burden of cancer in developing countries. Cancer rates are rising sharply in developing countries, and the Global Health Council reports that 70% of the world's 7.6 million cancer deaths in 2005 were in those countries. Citing a study in the Annals of Oncology, Global Health Council reports that 12.5% of all deaths in developing countries are caused by cancer; more than the total of all deaths caused by AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

Some researchers speculate that as people adopt the habits of wealthier nations - smoking, poor diet and carcinogens in the workplace - cancer incidence has increased. Stomach, liver and cervical are infection-related cancers which have higher incidence in these countries. Epidemiologists suggest that weak public health systems in these nations cannot control infective agents and contaminants. Other cancers (lung, breast and colorectal) may reflect the longer life expectancies developing nations are enjoying as family size is limited.

Suggested strategies are:
Experts will be brainstorming on ways to get cancer prevention and treatment in developing nations on the global health agenda. We applaud them for bringing our awareness to this important issue.

Thank you night_eulen for use of the photo of health workers in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
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The Healthline Editorial team writes about the latest health news, policy, and research.

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