Cancer Patients Don’t Get Access to Proper Surgery: Study

cancer-surgeonNearly 80 per cent of the 15 million people diagnosed with cancer worldwide in 2015 will need surgery, but less than a quarter will have access to proper, affordable surgical care when they need it, a study released by the King’s College London stated.

The study revealed that access is worst in low-income countries where as many as 95 per cent of people with cancer do not receive basic cancer surgery.Surgery is the mainstay of cancer control and cure, with over 80 percent of all cancers requiring some type of surgery, in many cases multiple times, say the researchers.

“With many competing health priorities and substantial financial constraints in many low-and-middle-income countries, surgical services for cancer are given low priority within national cancer plans and are allocated few resources,” said Professor Richard Sullivan, from King’s College London.

The researchers estimated that less than five per cent patients in low-income countries and only roughly 22 per cent patients in middle-income countries can access even the most basic cancer surgery.

Poor access to basic cancer surgery and good quality cancer care is not just confined to the world’s poorer countries. Survival data across Europe showed that many of the poorer European Union member states are not delivering high quality cancer surgery to their populations.

By 2030, of the almost 22 million new cancer patients, over 17 million will need operations, 10 million of them in low-and-middle-income countries,  study, published in the journal The Lancet Oncology stated.

With a serious shortfall of cancer surgeons in over 82 per cent of countries, radical action is needed to train general surgeons to deliver basic cancer surgery, produce more gynaecological and surgical oncologists, and create more high quality surgical training programs,the study added.

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