The timely detection of cancer can prevent 75% mortality in the case of the breast and up to 95% in the cervix, but the inequality between poor and rich countries does not help to improve this situation, according to several experts .
“Developing countries accrue 90% of cervical cancer mortality and 70% of breast cancer mortality in the world,” said Dr. Felicia Knaul, president of the Latin American Union Against Women’s Cancer (ULACCAM) .
Participating in the “Cancer, Challenges in Mexico and Latin America” forum, organized by Efe Agency and the newspaper El Universal with the sponsorship of the drug company Roche, the expert stressed that women could stop dying if the detection were timely Of this disease.
“In developing countries, we have seen a reduction in incidence and deaths in the last 30 years, while in Latin America and Central America the numbers are still increasing,” he said.
Countries such as the United States and Canada have invested in timely detection. In Latin America, “we are not close to them, where the detection is in stage 1”, while in this region are diagnosed between 15 and 20% of cases at this stage.
Dr. Gerry Eijkemans, a representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Mexico, concurred with the data and warned that if they continue at this rate, “by 2030, more than 21 million people in the world will have cancer.”
He noted that by 2015, only a third of low-income countries had a pathology service, while more than 90% of high-income nations offer treatment to the sick, a figure that is reduced to 30% in low-income states .
For example, he pointed out that survival to acute childhood lymphoblastic leukemia in low- and middle-income nations is 20%, while in high-income countries it reaches 90%.
“The detection of cancer in poor countries is at a very advanced stage and a lack of diagnosis avoids timely treatment,” he said.
The specialist explained that it is necessary for each country to have a National Cancer Registry to understand how this problem develops in each nation.
“At least 84% of countries have declared themselves to have such a register, but in fact only one in five low-income countries have it,” he said.
In the case of Mexico, where cancer takes 80,000 lives every year, Knaul highlighted the actions that the Government has launched to combat this problem, although he said that there is still much to be done.
“Seguro Popular has been a great ally, since it covers all Mexicans without social insurance and includes several cancers in the catastrophic protection fund,” he said.
Although there are different stages of care and emphasis has been placed on risk factors and treatment, he said, late detection and palliative care are aspects that need to be addressed.
“If we can promote the early detection of breast cancer, there will be access to the drugs and the care that women need to survive the disease,” he said.
For its part, Eijkemans recommended implementing national plans that involve several sectors, beyond health. “It’s a complicated but necessary issue,” he said.
He also said that “efficient” investment is critical to address this problem. “It is not the only answer, but it requires first-level investment and focusing on the path of prevention” throughout Latin America, he added.
In the opening ceremony, the Mexican Secretary of Health, José Narro, called for strengthening and redirecting efforts in the detection and timely treatment of cancer.
The general director of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), Mikel Arriola, and the director of El Universal, Juan Francisco Ealy Lanz Duret, were also present during the forum, which was attended by Canal Once.