Experts warn of human and economic cost of inaction on cancer

This was the message to Ministers of Health and leading international figures at the 2012 World Cancer Leaders’€™ Summit (WCLS) currently underway in Montréal, Canada.

Cancer imparts on all societies a heavy burden of distress, suffering and death and this has an enormous economic impact. This is particularly in countries lacking the health infrastructure to cope with the increasing number of people affected by the disease, according to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

 ‘€œWithout sustained action, cancer incidence is projected to increase by 70% in middle-income countries and 82% in lower-income countries by 2030,’€ said the UICC.

It is also estimated that cancer and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – diabetes, cardiovascular and lung disease – will cause an economic loss of output in low- and middle-income economies exceeding $7 trillion by 2025 – a yearly loss equivalent to 4% of the annual output in these countries.

‘€œGovernments who, early on, committed to address non-communicable diseases are already seeing progress in reducing cancer, diagnosing sooner and saving lives,’€ said Dr Oleg Chestnov, Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health, World Health Organisation (WHO).

‘€œWith cancer incidence set to rise dramatically in low- and middle-income countries in the next twenty years, an unsustainable burden is falling on these nations, both economically and socially. The international cancer community must commit support and expertise to help the developing world combat this trend through measures adapted to the specific cancer patterns occurring in these countries,” Dr Christopher Wild from the International Agency for Research on Cancer said.

A 2011 WHO report noted that the introduction of global interventions which will help avoid many millions of premature NCD deaths would cost approximately $11bn per annum to implement and result in many billions of dollars of additional global economic output.

‘€œWe know the cost of inaction against cancer hugely outweighs the cost of action. We therefore urge governments without NCCPs to pledge the appropriate resources and financial support to implement these life-saving programmes,” commented Dr Mary Gospodarowicz, incoming UICC President.

Source: UICC Press Relations

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