Last 04 February was world cancer Day. Certainly a good occasion to draw attention to the current situation.
It is no news that cancer is wreaking havoc in people’s lives. Whether it is physically, emotionally or financially, the disease has had a tremendous negative impact on individuals, families, communities and health systems. Maybe less known is the fact that, despite considerable efforts and resources dedicated to prevention, early detection and treatment, cancer-related deaths have nonetheless increased by 6.6% between 2000 and 2015 across Europe, says WHO. Despite this general tendency, some countries such as Belarus, Czech-Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United Kingdom have managed to reverse the trend and reduce cancer induced mortality.
Studies have now largely demonstrated the positive impact of cancer prevention. It has been show that when cancer incidence increased by more than 30% in some countries of the Region, some which had invested in cancer prevention managed to limit the increase, and even in some case, reduce cancer incidence.
Along with prevention, there are other means that have proven to be effective in tackling the disease. Early detection and effective treatments have also generated good results such as illustrated by Turkey where cancer incidence increased significantly between 2000 and 2010, why cancer-related mortality decreased by 16%.
To conclude, delayed cancer diagnosis and an inability to access treatment result in countless lost lives and increased disabilities. Cancer control measures must focus on building comprehensive health systems that prioritise high-impact and cost-sensitive interventions. A cancer death is a tragedy to a family and a community. By developing effective programmes to diagnose and treat cancer early, lives can be saved and the personal, societal and economic costs of cancer care can be reduced.