The Edge of Health
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|Jessica Berman||June 3rd 2012|
The IARC reported its projections in an article published in The Lancet Oncology. Ted Trimble is director of the Center for Global Health at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Trimble says the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer study were not surprising given the introduction of fatty foods in middle income countries. “We had seen tidings of this on the horizon because we know that as the developing world was adopting a Western lifestyle that we were going to be seeing an increase in the same cancers that afflict the developed world,” Trimble said.
In countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Trimble says it’s important to roll-out vaccinations to prevent cancers linked to infections, including cervical cancer, caused by human papilloma virus, and the virus that causes liver cancer. “For 30 years now, we’ve had (a) good vaccination for hepatitis B which is responsible for a lot of cases of liver cancer around the world. That vaccine is very cheap. It’s about twenty-five to fifty cents a dose,” Trimble said.
Trimble also says global public health experts need to get the word out about lifestyle factors related to cancer. For example, in China, he says about 80 percent of men smoke cigarettes, a strong risk factor for lung cancer.
Ultimately, Trimble says the key is working with health organizations, non-governmental groups and countries themselves to improve access to early diagnosis and treatment. “Many of these cancers can be treated effectively with some combination of surgery and radiation therapy and chemotherapy. But if you don’t have the trained doctors in place and the trained nurses in place and the right facilities in place, then people cannot get treated and cannot have potentially curative treatment for their cancers,” Trimble said.
Jessica Berman writes for VOA, from where this article is adapted.