Expansion of Cancer Care and Control in Countries of Low and Middle Income: A Call to Action

The Lancet, 376 (9747): 1186-1193, 2010

Posted: 16 May 2012

See all articles by Paul E. Farmer

Paul E. Farmer

Harvard Medical School; Partners In Health

Julio Frenk

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Felicia Knaul

Mexican Health Foundation; Harvard Global Equity Initiative

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Substantial inequalities exist in cancer survival rates across countries. In addition to prevention of new cancers by reduction of risk factors, strategies are needed to close the gap between developed and developing countries in cancer survival and the effects of the disease on human suffering. We challenge the public health community's assumption that cancers will remain untreated in poor countries, and note the analogy to similarly unfounded arguments from more than a decade ago against provision of HIV treatment. In resource-constrained countries without specialised services, experience has shown that much can be done to prevent and treat cancer by deployment of primary and secondary caregivers, use of off-patent drugs, and application of regional and global mechanisms for financing and procurement. Furthermore, several middle-income countries have included cancer treatment in national health insurance coverage with a focus on people living in poverty. These strategies can reduce costs, increase access to health services, and strengthen health systems to meet the challenge of cancer and other diseases. In 2009, we formed the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries, which is composed of leaders from the global health and cancer care communities, and is dedicated to proposal, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to advance this agenda.

Keywords: cancer survival, public health , national health insurance coverage

Suggested Citation

Farmer, Paul E. and Frenk, Julio and Knaul, Felicia, Expansion of Cancer Care and Control in Countries of Low and Middle Income: A Call to Action (2010). The Lancet, 376 (9747): 1186-1193, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2055311

Paul E. Farmer

Harvard Medical School ( email )

25 Shattuck St
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Partners In Health

641 Huntington Ave, 1st Floor
Boston, MA 02115
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Julio Frenk

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ( email )

P.O. Box 23350
Seattle, WA 98102
United States

Felicia Knaul (Contact Author)

Mexican Health Foundation ( email )

Periférico sur 4809, El Arenal Tepepan, Tlalpan
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Mexico, D.F., 14610
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HOME PAGE: http://http//www.funsalud.org.mx

Harvard Global Equity Initiative ( email )

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Boston, MA 02115
United States
(617) 4327938 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://isites.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do?keyword=k62597&pageid=icb.page268594

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