De gevaarlijke mythologie rondom kanker

GENEVE – Dit jaar zal Wereldkankerdag zich sterk maken voor het uitbannen van de schadelijke mythes rond de ziekte. Het thema – geïllustreerd door de slogan “Kanker – Wist u dat?” – biedt de mogelijkheid om na te denken over de werkelijke gevolgen van kanker en de mondiale preventie- en behandelingspraktijk te ondersteunen.

Eén van die mythes is dat kanker vooral een probleem is van de ontwikkelde landen. Maar hoewel het waar is dat kanker in de rijkere landen hardnekkig aanwezig blijft, verliezen de mensen in de armste landen van de wereld meer levensjaren aan de ziekte. Terwijl de medische vooruitgang en technologische ontwikkelingen kankerpatiënten in landen met hoge inkomens hebben geholpen langer in leven te blijven – in die mate dat sommige vormen van kanker feitelijk chronische aandoeningen zijn geworden – blijven de mensen in landen met lagere inkomens jong sterven.

Afgezien van het feit dat dit onrechtvaardig is, is het ook zeer tragisch. Als je aan dodelijke ziekten als malaria en aids bent ontsnapt, mag je niet voortijdig het loodje leggen als gevolg van kanker – vooral niet als gevolg van een vorm van kanker die voorkomen had kunnen worden met zoiets eenvoudigs en betaalbaars als een vaccin.

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