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Ann Oncol. 2006 Jun;17 Suppl 8:viii24-viii31.

Cancer initiatives in developing countries.

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  • 1Department of Oncology, Cancer Center Karolinska, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.


The coming decades will bring dramatic increases in morbidity and mortality from cancer in the developing world. The burden of cancer is increasing globally, with an expected 20 million new cases per year in 2020, half of which will be in low- and middle-income countries. Despite an already overwhelming burden of health problems, developing countries must somehow address this cancer pandemic and their alarming share of cancer illness. Many large-scale and innovative worldwide initiatives have been launched in the fight against cancer. These programs represent colossal efforts to expand resources for health education among people and healthcare workers in developing countries and to increase awareness of cancer prevention. Many novel evidence-based and culturally-relevant programs are being implemented for screening and early prevention of common cancers. Several key initiatives are supporting clinical research, guideline development, oncology training, and appropriate technology transfer, such as access to electronic medical literature. Treatment programs are expanding access and quality of radiologic and pharmacologic therapies for cancer. These initiatives represent an unprecedented level of and cooperation among international agencies, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, international foundations, scientific societies, local institutions, and industry. This review examines the scope of need in response to the increasing burden of cancer in the developing world and major initiatives that have been created to respond to these needs.

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