Solutions to Region’s Cancer Burden are “Not Beyond Us”

Each year on Feb. 4, the global community recognizes World Cancer Day to raise awareness about the disease and to motivate governments and individuals to take action. In 2015, #WorldCancerDay is taking place under the tagline “Not beyond us” to highlight the fact that solutions exist and are within reach.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Americas, surpassed only by cardiovascular disease. “Nearly 3 million people (in the region) are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 1.3 million die,” the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in a statement. “If no action is taken, new cases of cancer are projected to increase 30% over the next decade.”

According to the PAHO, about a third of cancer cases could be prevented by adopting healthier lifestyles, and many cases have a high chance of recovery if detected early and treated adequately. In Latin America, “more than 70 percent of cancers are diagnosed when the disease is incurable,” the American Cancer Society reports. The region’s cancer burden is attributed to challenges including ineffFonte da Vida 11-2012(4)ective or lacking early detection programs, unequal access to quality treatment and insufficient government attention to chronic diseases such as cancer, among others.

But this year’s World Cancer Day focuses on solutions: making healthy life choices, increasing early detection, ensuring treatment for all and improving quality of life. To support the movement, we’re taking this opportunity to share the work of a few of The Resource Foundation’s local partners in the fight against cancer.

In Brazil, Grupo de Assistência à Criança com Câncer (GACC) provides integral care for around 500 children with varying stages of cancer at its youth treatment center. Through its Early Detection Training on Childhood Cancer project, GACC trains health professionals and medical students to strengthen their knowledge of pediatric oncology and the importance of early detection. As a result of its efforts in 2014, with Johnson & Johnson’s support, an increasing number of individuals with early signs of cancer approached GACC for examination, and the organization’s hospital has been able to cure 71 percent of its patients.

CruzRosa, in Mexico, was established in 2004 as the country’s first shelter specifically serving low-income women with cancer and their families. Through its Integral Support Program for Women with Cancer, funded by the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, CruzRosa provided women staying at its shelter with balanced meals tailored to their dietary needs and psychological support to reduce their anxiety and help them better cope with treatment. In addition, the women and their families received training on cancer, healthcare and income-generating activities.

A TRF local partner in Argentina, Fundación Natali Dafne Flexer (FNDF), focuses on helping young cancer patients improve their quality of life by promoting access to high-quality treatment while offering psychosocial support and care.  Through a project supported by Johnson & Johnson in 2014, FNDF trained pediatric psychologists to respond to the unique needs of sick children and their families. In this way, the children receive the specialized care they need not only to cope with their disease, but also to reach their full potential later in life.

Visit our interactive map or contact TRF directly to learn more about and support our work in cancer prevention and treatment, as well as in other healthcare initiatives.

 

By Lisa Schohl, TRF Strategic Communications Manager