sjohnson2_ GHIEducation ImagesUniversal Images Group via Getty Images)_chemo GHI/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

How to Achieve Universal Cancer Care

Universally accessible comprehensive cancer care is essential to achieving social-development goals related to equality, social justice, and the right to health. And countries like Thailand are showing how it can be achieved.

GENEVA – At the upcoming second United Nations High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage, the world’s governments are expected to adopt a new set of commitments focused on accelerating implementation of UHC. No resolution will be complete without the explicit inclusion of comprehensive cancer services.

Cancer causes an estimated ten million deaths each year. Beyond the human suffering, the disease has profound – and growing – economic consequences: by 2030, spending on cancer care worldwide is projected to reach $458 billion. In many countries, patients have to pay for much of their cancer care out of pocket – a burden that often leads to financial catastrophe.

Given this, investing in cost-effective prevention and early-detection strategies is not only a moral imperative, but also an economic one. Prevention is far cheaper than treatment, and where cancer cannot be prevented, early detection makes successful treatment more likely, at a far lower cost.