Cancer is a rapidly increasing problem in developing countries. Without an understanding of cancer services and access to these services in developing countries, effective cancer control programs cannot be developed or sustained, a new study suggests.

The study demonstrates an urgent need to improve health services for cancer control in developing countries. Current resources and needed investments must be optimally managed. National, regional and international collaboration and political leadership are needed, focusing on four key priorities:

  • Capacity building in oncology health services research, policy and planning relevant to developing countries.
  • Development of higher quality health data sources.
  • More oncology-related economic evaluations in developing countries.
  • Exploration of high-quality models for delivering cancer control in developing countries sensitive to varying needs, resources and priorities.

These hold the promise of optimizing needed investment in cancer control for developing countries and improving national cancer control planning.

Research has shown that of the estimated 7.6 million cancer deaths worldwide in 2007, 62 percent were in developing countries. Experts projected a 75 percent increase in cancer incidence in the developing world between 2000 and 2020.

1. Hanna TP, Kangolle ACT. Cancer control in developing countries: using health data and health services research to measure and improve access, quality and efficiency. BMC International Health and Human Rights 2010; 10: 24. (0pen access)