Meeting the Emerging Challenge of Breast and Cervical Cancer in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, August 2012
Posted: 31 Jan 2013 Last revised: 8 Feb 2013
Date Written: August 9, 2012
Cancer, particularly when it affects women and reproductive health, epitomizes the complexities and inequities of the epidemiological challenge faced by low- and middle-income countries. Women in resource-poor settings face a double cancer burden: the backlog of preventable cancer, and the emerging challenge of cancers that cannot be prevented but whose impact could be dramatically reduced through early detection and treatment. Disparities in cancer incidence, mortality, and other health and non-health outcomes are exacerbated by gender inequity and compounded by discrimination and stigma. The combination of these barriers implies a multiplicative challenge for women who face cancer, particularly when the disease is associated with reproduction. The horizons of maternal and reproductive health should extend to include the life cycle of healthy changes and illness that are embodied in longer life for women. Numerous opportunities exist to strengthen health systems through sexual and reproductive and women and health platforms and better meet the challenge of cancer.
Keywords: cancer, reproductive health, low- and middle-income countries, cancer burden
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