One in two countries unprepared to prevent and manage cancers: WHO survey

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One in two countries is unprepared to prevent and manage cancers, a World Health Organization –WHO survey says on World Cancer Day, observed Monday 4 February.

The survey warns that more than half of all countries worldwide are struggling to prevent cancer and provide treatment and chronic care to cancer patients.

The recent survey on national capacity for non-communicable diseases, which included responses from 185 countries, revealed major gaps in cancer control planning and services.

According to WHO, this means currently many countries do not have a functional cancer control plan that includes prevention, early detection, treatment and care.

The agency says there is an urgent need to help countries to reduce cancer deaths and provide appropriate long-term treatment and care to avoid human suffering and protect countries' social and economic development.

WHO's Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health, Dr Oleg Chestnov says "Cancer should not be a death sentence anywhere in the world as there are proven ways to prevent and cure many cancers", adding that "In order to reduce exposure to risk factors leading to cancer and ensure that every person living with cancer gets access to appropriate care and treatment, comprehensive cancer control programmes need to be set up in every country."

Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. 7.6 million people died from cancer worldwide in 2008 and every year almost 13 million cancer cases are newly diagnosed.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’29″

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