Paul Lachine

El cáncer de la pobreza

GINEBRA – El cáncer es un enorme –y creciente- problema de salud pública global. Y, de los 7,6 millones de muertes por cáncer cada año, 4,8 millones se producen en el mundo en desarrollo. Una enfermedad anteriormente considerada más dominante en los países ricos hoy deposita su mayor carga en las poblaciones pobres y desventajadas.

En algunos países africanos, menos del 15% de los pacientes con cáncer sobreviven durante cinco años después de un diagnóstico de cáncer cervical y de mama, enfermedades que son altamente curables en otras partes del mundo. Son estadísticas apabullantes, con inmensas implicancias para el sufrimiento humano, los sistemas (y presupuestos) de atención médica y la estrategia internacional para reducir la pobreza. De modo que se las debería tratar como un llamado a la acción.

El incremento en el impacto del cáncer en los pobres refleja factores como el crecimiento demográfico, el envejecimiento de la población, la propagación de estilos de vida no saludables (entre ellos el consumo de tabaco) y la falta de control de infecciones asociadas con el cáncer. Aunque muchos tipos de cáncer se desarrollan lentamente, los cambios en el estilo de vida se producen con una asombrosa velocidad y alcance. Estas tendencias no son fáciles de revertir.

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