UNITED NATIONS: Cancer kills about 8.8 million people around the world every year, the World Health Organization (WHO), a UN agency, said Saturday.
“New WHO figures released this week indicate that each year 8.8 million people die from cancer, mostly in low-and middle-income countries.
One problem is that many cancer cases are diagnosed too late”, according to a press release.
The figure is so high that it accounts for two and a half times more people killed than those who die from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, it said.
The agency estimates that by 2030, more than two-thirds of all cancer-related deaths will be in developing countries.
Early detection can also cut the cost of treatment. In 2010, it said, the total annual economic cost of cancer through healthcare expenditure and loss of productivity was estimated at $1.16 trillion. “Diagnosing cancer in late stages, and the inability to provide treatment, condemns many people to unnecessary suffering and early death,”, Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of WHO’s Department for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, said.
‘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”, he stressed.
According to WHO, studies in high-income countries have shown that treatment for cancer patients who have been diagnosed early are two to four times less expensive compared to treating people diagnosed with cancer at more advanced stages.
The third step to WHO’s early diagnosis is strengthening and equipping health services and training workers, according to the guidance released today.