Cancer Day to target myths
Cancer kills more people worldwide than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and more than half of deaths are in developing countries.
Yet many people, including policymakers, still harbor the misconception that cancer is a concern only for industrialized nations, rather than developing countries.
Cancer activists will try to dispel such myths on Monday, as they mark World Cancer Day, organized by the Union for International Cancer Control, a global health group.
Some cancers are more common in poor countries partly because access to health care and preventive services is lacking. For example, 85 percent of cervical cancer deaths are in developing countries, according to the cancer union.
Cancer rates are increasing in developing nations for many reasons. As poor countries industrialize, people are exposed to more hazardous chemicals, said Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.
Cigarette companies also market their products heavily overseas. As more people take up smoking, lung cancer cancer rates are rising, says Cy Stein, deputy director of clinical research at City of Hope Medical Center's cancer center in Duarte, Calif. Nearly 80 percent of the world's 1 billion smokers live in low- or middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization.
“It's a perfect storm: more urbanization, with more fast food and more inactivity,” says Katie Horton, a research professor with the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services in Washington.
Yet developing nations often are ill-equipped to care for cancer patients, Brawley says. Many dying patients lack even the basics, such as adequate pain relief, he adds.
“Pain relief is cheap to do, and should logistically be easy to do, but it's not being done,” Brawley said. “It's an issue of human suffering.”
And 90 percent of the global consumption of opioid analgesics, such as morphine, is in just five regions: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and Western Europe.
Cancer survivors and advocates will try to spread their message in a variety of ways. Brawley will lead a Twitter chat today at 11 a.m. using the hashtag #WorldCancerDay.
He will lead a Google Plus chat and live video broadcast at 3 p.m.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ringling Bros. circus eliminating elephant acts
- Senate fails to override Obama veto of Keystone pipeline bill
- Mogul donates $100M to Lincoln Center
- Ferguson’s white officer justified in shooting black man, feds find
- Defense strategy for Boston Marathon bombing defendant Tsarnaev is to avoid death penalty
- Winter storm swirls from Texas to New England
- This winter, a fur coat’s not enough
- Mother of 12-year-old shot dead by police criticizes Cleveland for faulting son, failing to apologize
- Top Senate Republican to states: Ignore EPA carbon rules
- Congress investigates Hillary Clintons use of private email
- McConnell wants EPA rule rejected