Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
World Cancer Day 2019 highlights the need for urgent action to improve early cancer detection

World Cancer Day 2019 highlights the need for urgent action to improve early cancer detection

Global Superstar Musicians Pledge Support On World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day 2019 highlights the need for urgent action to increase early stage cancer detection, screening, and diagnosis to significantly improve cancer patients’ chances of survival. Taking place under the theme of ‘I Am and I Will’, today’s World Cancer Day led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), aims to inspire and encourage action from individuals, the health community, and governments to improve public awareness and access to early detection, screening, and diagnosis.

In 2018, there were more than 18 million new cases of cancer diagnosed of which nearly 5 million cases of breast, cervical, colorectal, and oral cancers could have been detected sooner and treated more effectively. Early detection, screening, and diagnosis have been proven to significantly improve patient survival rates and quality of life as well as significantly reduce the cost and complexity of cancer treatment. However, barriers to achieving higher rates of early cancer detection need to be addressed now at the individual, health system, and governmental level to significantly reduce the personal and financial burden of cancer worldwide.

Chief Executive Officer, Union for International Cancer Control, Dr Cary Adams said:

This World Cancer Day, we want people to know that many cancers can be managed and even cured, especially if they’re detected and treated as early as possible. By detecting cancer at its earliest stage, we seize the greatest opportunity to prevent millions of avoidable deaths worldwide.”

Early detection, screening, and diagnosis significantly improves survival rates

Universally, the majority of cancers are amenable to early detection. When a cancer is detected at an early stage – and when coupled with appropriate treatment – the chance of survival beyond five years is dramatically higher than when detected at a later stage when the tumor has spread and the disease is more advanced.

In the US, the five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with cervical cancer at an advanced stage is just 15%, compared to 93% if diagnosed when the cancer has not spread. This pattern holds even in lower income settings. In India, a study among rural women with cervical cancer found the five-year survival rate to be 9% when diagnosed at Stage IV, which soars to 78% when diagnosed at Stage I.

Early detection, screening, and diagnosis saves money

Early diagnosis can also significantly reduce the cost of treatment. Studies in high-income countries show that treatment costs for early-diagnosed cancer patients are two to four times less expensive than treating those diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer. A US study estimates the national cost savings from early diagnosis at $26 billion per year. A study of Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia found early intervention initiatives such as cervical cancer smear tests, colonoscopy screenings, and mammography screenings (combined with treatment) to be “highly cost effective”. Despite this, millions of cancer cases are found late, leading to expensive and complex treatment options, diminished quality of life, and avoidable deaths.

UICC President and mother of a cancer survivor HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan said:

Cancer thrives on late presentation of the disease. The delay allows it to spread and cause damage totally unchallenged. That is why, on this World Cancer Day, I urge you all to educate yourselves with the signs and symptoms of cancer and to not be afraid to seek help immediately. Equally, I urge governments to prioritize and systemize early detection and screening programs to allow for better access and to give all a fighting chance to beat cancer.”

Individual barriers to early detection, screening, and diagnosis

Everyone is susceptible to physical, psychological, or socioeconomic barriers to accessing early cancer detection. Some common barriers individuals come up against are age, masculine gender norms, feelings of shame and fear, and poor health awareness.

Age can largely influence someone’s ability to understand and communicate their early symptoms of cancer, making children particularly vulnerable. However, childhood cancers are generally some of the most highly treatable forms of cancers – 80% of childhood cancers are curable if prompt diagnosis and treatment is given.

Masculine gender norms, combined with a broader lack of men’s health promotion, can prevent help-seeking behavior even when men might suspect cancer early on. The strongest factor associated with men’s help-seeking behavior has been shown to be the encouragement and support of spouses and family members.  

Feelings of shame and fear, combined with poor health awareness and cultural beliefs, can also keep people from seeking medical care or screening programs. In 2018, a UK report found one in four people would not seek medical attention after discovering a potential cancer symptom for fear of what the diagnosis would be. To change these behaviors, cancer awareness raising efforts must stress the importance of early diagnosis and encourage early help seeking. In Bangladesh, a survey of breast cancer patients reported that almost half of respondents first sought alternative treatment before seeking conventional medical advice, which resulted in an average disease presentation delay of four months. To achieve greater screening participation, it’s also important to ensure that programs are culturally appropriate, which could mean enhanced cultural competence training for clinical staff or an increase in the number of program educators from a cultural group.

Health system barriers to early detection, screening and diagnosis

There is also an opportunity to increase awareness among doctors, nurses, and other health practitioners to improve early cancer detection, especially at the primary care level. In the UK, a study found that most people present cancer signs or symptoms at the primary care level in the year before their formal cancer diagnosis. However, even when a healthcare professional might suspect cancer, weak referral systems can oftentimes prevent them from efficiently referring these patients on to pathology services for diagnostic testing, which inevitably leads to needless delays in treatment. When suspected cancer patients do get referred for diagnostic testing, limited access to pathology services and diagnostic technologies can hold back health services from delivering early diagnoses and treatment of cancer. This is especially true in low-income countries where there are a large number of late stage diagnoses – 35% of low-income countries reported that pathology services were generally available compared to more than 95% of high-income countries.  

Governments must translate their commitments into action

This World Cancer Day, as part of its flagship Treatment for All initiative, UICC and its 1,100+ member organizations across more than 170 countries are calling on governments to translate their commitments to reduce the burden of cancer into demonstrable national action. Strong early detection and timely diagnosis measures must be a part of any country’s National Cancer Control Plan, alongside concrete measures to improve cancer prevention, treatment, and care. By implementing resource-appropriate strategies on prevention, early detection, and treatment, up to 3.7 million lives can be saved every year.

To improve early detection, screening, and diagnosis, and in line with guidelines set out by the World Health Organization, UICC recommends that all governments should:

  • Implement measures to reduce stigma and improve public awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer  
  • Implement cost-effective population-based screenings and early detection programs
  • Strengthen national health systems’ referral mechanisms for suspected cancers to facilities providing diagnostic and treatment services
  • Increase investment in diagnostic capacities

Director-General, World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:

For too many years, cancer has been considered too complex and too expensive to manage. The opposite is true. If we fail to respond decisively to cancer, the economic and social consequences will be astronomical. To win the fight against cancer, countries must ensure that services for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as well as palliative care, are integrated into benefit packages as part of efforts to achieve universal health coverage.”

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles