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MILLIONS DYING OF CANCER-WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) says each year, 8.8 million people die from cancer mostly in low and middle-income countries and that many of these cases are diagnosed at late stages, when they are harder to manage effectively.

WHO's new guidance focuses on diagnosing cancer early to improve the chances of successful treatment for people living with the disease. 

According to a press statement released by the WHO's Communications Officer, Mr. Paul Garwood, the new guidance launched ahead of World Cancer Day commemorated annually on February 4 aims to improve the chances of survival for people living with cancer by ensuring that health services can focus on diagnosing treating the disease earlier.

To this effect themed 'Early Cancer Diagnosis Saves Lives, Cuts Treatment Costs', the 2017 World Cancer Day has the WHO revealing new figures released this week indicating that each year 8.8 million people die from cancer, mostly in low- and middle-income countries and as well as that even in countries with optimal health systems and services, many cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage when they are harder to treat successfully hence condemning many people to unnecessary suffering and early death.

'By taking the steps to implement WHO’s new guidance, healthcare planners can improve early diagnosis of cancer and ensure prompt treatment, especially for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. This will result in more people surviving cancer. It will also be less expensive to treat and cure cancer patients,' reads the press statement,

It further states that all countries can take steps to improve early diagnosis of cancer, which according to the WHO's new guide to cancer, early diagnosis has the potential to improve public awareness of different cancer symptoms and encourage people to seek care when these arise.

One other benefit is said to be investing in strengthening and equipping health services and training health workers so they can conduct accurate and timely diagnostic and ensuring people living with cancer can access safe and effective treatment including pain relief without incurring prohibitive personal or financial hardship.

However, challenges are said to be clearly greater in low and middle income countries which have lower abilities to provide access to effective diagnostic services including imaging, laboratory tests and pathology, all which are said to be key in helping detect cancers and plan treatment while countries are said to also currently have different capacities to refer cancer patients to the appropriate level of care.

Meanwhile, WHO encourages these countries to prioritize basic, high-impact and low-cost cancer diagnosis and treatment services.  

The Organization also recommends reducing the need for people to pay for care out of their own pockets, which prevents many from seeking help in the first place.

World Cancer Day commemorated annually on February 4 aims to improve the chances of survival for people living with cancer by ensuring that health services can focus on diagnosing treating the disease earlier.

Source: LENA 04/02/2017

 

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