In Latin America and the Caribbean, the epidemiological transition has been occurring in an unequal manner. Infectious-contagious diseases share space with the increase of chronic nontransmissible diseases, such as cancer, which already represents the second most common cause of death, after cardiovascular illnesses.
This study provides a global picture of the burden of cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as the challenges faced when controlling this disease in these regions.
Epidemiological information on cancer in Latin America originates mainly from mortality registries and from a limited number of population-based cancer registries. Estimates indicate increases of 72% in the incidence of cancer and 78% in the mortality of men between 2012 and 2030, and for women the rates are 62% and 74%, respectively. These increases in incidence rates, accompanied by disproportionally high mortality rates, when compared with other regions of the world, reveal the magnitude of the challenge of controlling cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although neoplasms are among the main causes of death, the control strategies are faced with issues such as organization and development of the health system, and the public policy formulation mechanism.
Establishing knowledge on the real impact of incidence, mortality, and survival in Latin America and the Caribbean is quite a challenge due to the lack of an updated and dynamic information system on mortality and incidence, although some improvement has been made in the information systems of some countries within the most recent decade. Other obstacles for cancer control are the uneven allocation of resources, lack of investments in equipment and infrastructure, and the concentration of health care professionals in large urban centers, which contribute to the reproduction of socioeconomic iniquities in the assistance of populations that suffer from cancer.
Paula Curado, Maria, and Dyego Leandro Bezerra de Souza. “Cancer Burden in Latin America and the Caribbean”. Annals of Global Health 80, no. 5 (2014): 370–77. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.aogh.2014.09.009