12:00 AM, November 06, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 06, 2016

Many breast and cervical cancer deaths could be prevented with cost- effective interventions

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Every year 800,000 women die of cervical and breast cancer, but where a woman lives will largely determine her chance of survival. Two thirds of breast cancer deaths and 9 out of 10 deaths from cervical cancer occur in low- and middle income countries (LMICs).

The authors of a new three-paper series published in The Lancet say that country-led efforts to tackle breast, cervical, and other women’s cancers in LMICs have so far been woefully inadequate and call for international efforts to end preventable deaths from breast and cervical cancer.

New estimates produced as part of the series reveal that the cost of inaction will be huge, with the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer every year worldwide expected to almost double from 1.7 million in 2015 to 3.2 million in 2030; whilst the number of women diagnosed with cervical cancer is predicted to rise by at least 25% to over 700000 by 2030, most in LMICs.

Persistent under-investment in LMICs, which receive just 5 percent of global funding for cancer, has exacerbated the issue. As a result, these ‘neglected diseases’ have exerted substantial negative effects on women’s health, family life, poverty, and economic development.

The series authors call for international efforts, similar to those that have led to major improvements in maternal health, to end preventable cases and deaths from breast and cervical cancer by 2030.

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