Half of world countries unprepared to deal with cancer, WHO says

February 1, 2013

Less than half of all countries in the world have functioning plans to prevent cancer and provide treatment and care to cancer patients, the World Health Organisation lamented Friday.

"Cancer should not be a death sentence anywhere in the world, as there are proven ways to prevent and cure many cancers," Dr. Oleg Chestnov, in charge of WHO's non-communicable diseases and mental health unit, said in a statement.

Yet the UN's health body said it had recently conducted a survey of 185 countries revealing that less than half of them, and only 17 percent of countries in Africa, had sufficiently funded cancer control plans.

This is a major concern in a world where each year almost 13 million new cancer cases are diagnosed and some 7.6 million people die of cancer—a number the WHO warned in 2010 could double to more than 13 million by 2030.

The shortage of functioning cancer control plans is especially alarming in developing countries, since they already account for more than two-thirds of the new cancer cases and deaths each year.

And things are only expected to get worse as populations age and increasingly feel the impact of exposure to major risk factors like tobacco, certain chemicals and infections, according to Dr. Andreas Ullrich, of WHO's Department of .

"We expect, especially in metropolitan areas of the developing world, to see a major increase in cancer," he told reporters in Geneva Friday.

The agency pointed out that up to a third of all cancer deaths are linked to "modifiable risks" like tobacco, obesity and harmful use of alcohol.

Vaccines exist for some infections linked to cancer, including , which can cause , and papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer.

And if detected early on, many can be cured, the agency pointed out.

"In order to reduce exposure to risk factors leading to cancer and ensure that every person living with cancer gets access to appropriate care and treatment, comprehensive programmes need to be set up in every country," Chestnov said.

Explore further: Lifestyle changes can help prevent 30% of cancers: WHO

Related Stories

Lifestyle changes can help prevent 30% of cancers: WHO

February 3, 2012
More than 30 percent of cancers can be prevented by lifestyle changes, the World Health Organization said Friday, on the eve of World Cancer Day.

World Cancer Day points to prevention

February 3, 2012
Health care organizations from around the globe will come together on Saturday, Feb. 4 to promote cancer prevention as part of this year's World Cancer Day.

Recommended for you

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.