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Cancer white paper: Developed and developing countries

Cancer in the developed and developing world: a whitepaper by Dr Sneh Khemka

Cancer is understood around the world as the word you never want to hear your doctor say. In the past, inadequate understanding of its causes, coupled with inadequate treatment, made it appear to be a death sentence. The truth is that cancer is not a single disease. It is a wide range of conditions, some of which may well be eradicated in future.

Yet today, millions around the globe are living with the disease and dying from it. How many of those deaths could be avoided? The World Health Organization’s cancer research institute IARC has argued that the $320 billion invested worldwide each year on cancer treatment and prevention could be better spent. If it was, the number of cancer deaths could be cut by half. Four out of every five of these “avoidable deaths” would be in the developing world, according to IARC. The argument for action is clear; the need urgent. 

In the developed world, innovation in technology is creating new and more effective treatments. However, in the developing world, access to the right care at the right time is far less certain. If nothing is done, the gulf will only widen between the likelihood of surviving cancer in the richest and poorest countries of the world. On the current trend, one forecast from the Harvard School of Public Health has predicted that 70% of all new cancer cases will occur in developing nations by the year 2050. 

Progress in treating and even curing cancer features in a new whitepaper written by Dr Sneh Khemka, President of International Population Health Solutions at Aetna International. You can download the whitepaper here.

About the author

Dr Sneh Khemka, MBChB, MRCOphth, (Hon) MFPH, is the President of International Population Health Solutions at Aetna International.  He is a surgeon by background, holds an honorary membership of the Faculty of Public Health, and is a key figure in international healthcare improvement.  

Sneh heads Aetna International’s efforts to help governments and large organisations manage the health of their populations better, primarily through infrastructure development (major Information Technology systems), clinical data analytics, health and disease management, and ultimately primary care.

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