WHO releases new cancer treatment guidelines
Aiming to improve the chances of survival for people living with cancer, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new treatment guidelines on the eve of World Cancer Day, which is observed across the globe on February 4. The focus of the new directives is on diagnosing and treating the disease earlier.
According to WHO's latest figure, about 8.8 million people die from cancer each year and most of the deaths are being reported in low and middle income countries. According to WHO findings, the main problem behind cancer deaths is that the disease is being diagnosed too late. "Diagnosing cancer in late stages, and the inability to provide treatment, condemns many people to unnecessary suffering and early death," says Dr Etienne Krug, Director of WHO's Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases in an email communiqué.
"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. This will result in more people surviving cancer. It will also be less expensive to treat and cure cancer patients," the WHO official said.
Detecting cancer early also greatly reduces cancer's financial impact as it will reduce the cost of treatment of cancer at early stages. In 2010, the total annual economic cost of cancer through healthcare expenditure and loss of productivity was estimated at US$ 1.16 trillion. In 2015, approximately 35 per cent of low-income countries reported that pathology services were generally available in the public sector, compared to more than 95 per cent of high-income countries.