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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686

Bull World Health Organ vol.80 n.8 Genebra Aug. 2002 

New cancer report reveals neglected opportunities

Of the 10 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year a third can be prevented, a third can be effectively treated, and the remaining third can be made to cause much less suffering through appropriate palliative care. That is the main message of National cancer control programmes: policies and managerial guidelines, a WHO report launched on 28 June at the International Cancer Congress in Oslo, Norway.

Too often, primary prevention, early detection and palliative care are neglected in favour of treatment-based approaches, regardless of whether they are cost- effective or improve patients' quality of life, the report says. "No matter what the resource constraints of a country, a well- conceived, well-managed programme can improve the national situation and the lives of those living with cancer,'' said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, WHO's Director-General. "We cannot allow ourselves to become overly reliant on treatment options at the expense of prevention efforts and palliation.''