Latin America Faces Cancer Epidemic

Saturday, 27 Apr 2013 10:18 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Latin America's growing prosperity is fueling a cancer epidemic that threatens to overwhelm the region unless governments take urgent preventive action, a study published on Friday warned.
 
A multinational team of researchers found the current state of cancer care and prevention in Latin America incompatible with the socioeconomic changes taking place in the region, where an increasingly urban populace faces mounting lifestyle-related cancer risks.
 
Special: This Small Group of Doctors is Quietly Curing Cancer

Writing in The Lancet Oncology medical journal, researchers said Latin Americans are enjoying the benefits of growing economic prosperity but also are leading longer, more sedentary lives, accompanied by a rise in alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity. That is not only leading to an increase in cancer rates, which are expected to rise more than 33 percent in the region by 2020, but a disproportionately high number of cancer deaths.
 
"If corrective action is not taken this problem will become magnitudes of order bigger than it is today, it will create massive human suffering and it will threaten the economies of the region," Paul Goss, a professor at Harvard Medical School who led the study, said at an event in Sao Paulo on Friday.
 
While Latin Americans contract cancer at lower rates than residents of the United States, they are nearly twice as likely to die from it, the study said.
 
Much of that has to do with the way cancer is treated in Latin America. More than half of those in the region have little or no health insurance and relatively few public health efforts are focused on preventive medicine. That means most patients seek treatment when they are at advanced stages of the disease and often too sick to be saved.
 
That type of care is not only ineffective but often very expensive, draining already scarce resources from public coffers, the study found.
 
IMMEDIATE CHANGES NEEDED

The study recommended Latin American nations make major changes to their healthcare policies, such as dedicating more funds to public health, widening healthcare access so cancer patients can be treated earlier and developing better national cancer plans. It also envisions shifting funds away from costly end-stage cancer treatment toward palliative care.
While researchers speaking at Friday's event acknowledged the difficulty of enacting such reforms quickly, they called on governments to start with short-term solutions, such as raising taxes on tobacco and providing families with cleaner-burning wood stoves.
The total cost of cancer to Latin American countries currently is about $4 billion per year and stands to grow precipitously, according to the study.
"If we don't put these things on the agenda now, we won't be prepared to deal with this in 10 or 15 years," said Carlos Barrios, a professor at Brazil's Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul. "(At that point) the costs will be likely be exorbitant."

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Weight Loss Surgery Brings Risk of Severe Headaches: Study

Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 17:21 PM

After weight-loss surgery, some patients may be at risk for developing severe headaches, a new study suggests.
In  . . .

Y Chromosome Loss Predicts Shortened Lifespan in Men

Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 17:16 PM

Elderly men who've lost the Y chromosome from their blood cells maybe at increased risk for earlier death and death from . . .

IVF Babies Have Slightly Higher Risk of Birth Defects: Study

Wednesday, 22 Oct 2014 17:04 PM

The risk of birth defects is low among children conceived using assisted reproductive technologies (ART), according to a . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved