‘800,000 women die of breast, cervical cancers yearly’
• Study says 90% of deaths occur in developing countries
• ‘Routine vaccination of 12-year-old girls will prevent cases, mortality worldwide
A medical journal, The Lancet, has said no fewer than 800,000 women die of breast and cervical cancers yearly and 90 per cent of these deaths occur in developing countries, including Nigeria.
According to a three-paper series published this week, although treatable and preventable, the majority of breast and cervical deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It also highlighted global variation in survival rates for women’s cancers.
The study, however, blamed the situation on high-cost preventive and treatment measures, such as mammography and radiotherapy.
It also said that there were cost-effective and proven interventions that could save hundreds of thousands of lives per year.
These, according to it, include cervical screening and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination of 12-year-old girls. Neither of these interventions needs highly trained medical members of staff or specialist centres.
The series, launched at the 2016 World Cancer Congress in Paris, France, said that to implement these and other interventions more widely, the international community must do more.
Predictions made in The Lancet’s special edition estimate that the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer across the globe will almost double – from 1.7 million last year to 3.2 million in 2030.
Series lead author, Prof. Ophira Ginsburg, said: “There is a widespread misconception that breast and cervical cancers are too difficult and expensive to prevent and treat, particularly in resource-poor countries where the burden of these diseases is highest. But nothing could be further from the truth.