Planning cancer control in Latin America and the Caribbean
The Lancet Oncology Commission
Non-communicable diseases, including cancer, are overtaking infectious disease as the leading health-care threat in middle-income and low-income countries. Latin American and Caribbean countries are struggling to respond to increasing morbidity and death from advanced disease. Health ministries and health-care systems in these countries face many challenges caring for patients with advanced cancer: inadequate funding; inequitable distribution of resources and services; inadequate numbers, training, and distribution of health-care personnel and equipment; lack of adequate care for many populations based on socioeconomic, geographic, ethnic, and other factors; and current systems geared toward the needs of wealthy, urban minorities at a cost to the entire population. This burgeoning cancer problem threatens to cause widespread suffering and economic peril to the countries of Latin America. Prompt and deliberate actions must be taken to avoid this scenario. Increasing efforts towards prevention of cancer and avoidance of advanced, stage IV disease will reduce suffering and mortality and will make overall cancer care more affordable. We hope the findings of our Commission and our recommendations will inspire Latin American stakeholders to redouble their efforts to address this increasing cancer burden and to prevent it from worsening and threatening their societies.