The issue: As developing nations experience population growth and reduced mortality from communicable diseases, the cancer burden increases. Though cancer was once thought to be a problem of the developed world, cancer is now a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). By 2030, cancer rates will nearly double in some LMICs where screening programs are scarce, health systems are poorly equipped, and awareness is limited. Due to these limitations, patients often present with advanced stage malignancies requiring expensive treatment that they cannot afford. With the development of the WHO Noncommunicable Disease (NCDs) Global Monitoring Framework which set a target of 25% relative reduction in mortality from NCD and the creation of National Cancer Control Plans by some LMICs, there are now policy options that national governments can take to ensure that the disparity between developing and developed country cancer mortality and morbidity does not continue to widen2.
Methodology: The literature compiled for this review are primarily from the scientific database PubMed. The terms used to identify PubMed articles consist of terms related to cancer such as “cancer,” “cancer control,” and “cancer burden.” Terms related to LMICs were also used, such as “low and middle income countries,” and “LMICs.” The publication dates were limited to the past 15 years to include studies prior to the first WHO World Cancer Report in 2003 and to capture how this report impelled the global community to address the increasing cancer burden. Roughly 300 articl...
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... health care providers, organizations, and government agencies together in a concerted effort to decrease the cancer burden in LMICs.
Summary statement: This review provided a background of the increasing burden of cancer in LMICs. The articles in this review served to illustrate that low survival rates in LMICs contribute to the disparity in cancer mortality rates. The articles also posit that it is possible to reduce the cancer burden in LMICs through concerted efforts to improve cancer prevention, vaccination coverage, early detection, and timely treatment. While policies and programs were highlighted towards, prevention and treatment prior to or at early stages of disease, it is important to note that there is a need for national level research which address how we might utilize pre-existing capacities to provide a better landscape of the issue to policymakers.
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