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Is cancer control in poor countries too high-tech?

last modified Nov 01, 2017 07:23 AM
Cancer control in developing countries focuses too much on expensive technology and too little on affordable prevention that can save lives, medical scientists warn.

Early diagnosis matters, and it can be done using cheap tools that are already widely available in the developing world, said Andre Ibawi, technical officer at the WHO. He said that people have a much better chance of survival if they find out they have cancer at early stages of the disease, so the priority for policy needs to be on promoting early detection and health care.

But developing countries tend to prioritise sophisticated technologies used at advanced stages of the disease, he told delegates at the Royal Society of Medicine’s annual cancer meeting in London earlier this month (2 October 2017), which focused on cancer control in low and middle-income countries.

A lot of progress can be made “if we take the existing package of services and focus on expanding access, as opposed to expanding the number of interventions in the health service,” Ibawi said in an interview with SciDev.Net.


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