Communicable diseases and poverty are far from the only problems that people living in developing countries have to worry about. The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer are shifting to low income countries, largely because of the lack of access to early screenings and vaccines. Developing countries now make up half of all global cancer cases.
The statistics prompted United Nations leaders to meet this week to discuss ways to curb the growing problem of NCDs in developing countries. The World Health Organization recommended a list of policies that should be adopted by all countries, a couple of which included excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco and legislating smoke-free workplaces and public areas. This is only the second time the United Nations has taken up a health issue, the first time was in 2001 for AIDS.
The meeting signals a sea change in global health. Infectious diseases such as HIV and malaria have long been the target of global health relief. Experts say that now non-communicable diseases have to be a part of international medical efforts.
What are your questions for leading experts in the field of global cancer research?
- Dr. Lawrence Corey: President and Director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle
- Dr. Scott Rushing: Gynecologic Oncologist at Northwest Cancer Specialists in Vancouver