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Cancer is a major burden of illness in Latin America with substantial implications for the health and well-being of the citizens and for the economies in the region. Given the rapid demographic and epidemiological transition in the countries of Latin America, the burden of cancer is projected to increase further with health, social, and economic consequences. The economic downturn faced by large countries, such as Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, is likely to compound the current and future challenges posed by the large and rising burden of cancer, and further worsen the wide inequalities in access to health systems, financial protection and health outcomes that exist. Yet, there are few detailed country-level studies on the nature and magnitude of the cancer challenge faced by each country in Latin America. Nor are there comprehensive national cancer plans in countries of Latin America that are informed by detailed analysis, and evidence-based costed interventions to demonstrate the health and economic benefits of investing in cancer prevention, care, and control. Without the appropriate data, intelligence, and strategies health systems in countries of Latin America are not well prepared to effectively manage the cancer burden and to create a sustainable lasting response.


The global war against cancer is a multifaceted challenge that requires a comprehensive approach involving various sectors including healthcare, research, education, and policy. Here are some key strategies that can be employed in this fight:

Prevention and Awareness: Educating people about risk factors such as smoking, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and exposure to carcinogens can help prevent many types of cancer. Promoting healthy lifestyle choices, vaccination (e.g., HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer), and regular screening for early detection are also crucial.

Advancements in Research: Investing in cancer research is vital for developing new treatments, diagnostic tools, and preventive measures. This includes funding for basic science research, clinical trials, and interdisciplinary collaborations to understand the underlying mechanisms of cancer and discover innovative therapies.

Access to Healthcare: Ensuring equitable access to high-quality healthcare services, including cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care, is essential. This involves addressing disparities in healthcare access based on factors such as income, geography, race, and ethnicity.

Precision Medicine: Utilizing advances in genomics and molecular biology to tailor treatments based on the individual genetic makeup of patients can lead to more effective and targeted therapies, minimizing side effects and improving outcomes.

International Collaboration Cancer knows no borders, and collaboration among countries, organizations, and institutions is critical for sharing knowledge, resources, and best practices. Initiatives like the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR) and the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) facilitate international cooperation in cancer research and control efforts.

Public Policy and Advocacy: Governments and policymakers play a significant role in shaping policies related to cancer prevention, treatment, and research funding. Advocacy efforts by patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, and advocacy organizations can influence policy decisions and prioritize cancer control on national and global agendas.

Support for Caregivers and Patients: Providing support services such as counseling, palliative care, and survivorship programs can improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families. Supporting caregivers is also crucial, as they play a vital role in providing emotional and practical support to patients throughout their cancer journey.

Lifestyle Modifications: Encouraging individuals to adopt healthy behaviors such as maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, and practicing sun safety can reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer.

By implementing these strategies and fostering collaboration across disciplines and borders, we can make significant progress in the global fight against cancer and improve outcomes for patients worldwide.


The series of coordinated regional and international discussions and events being held virtually around the world during the week....April 2024, under the umbrella title ‘Latin-American Global Cancer Week’, will provide a 360° picture of the impact of the rising global incidence of cancer, the challenges the cancer pandemic present to the implementation of cancer control strategies , the existing challenges to cancer treatment and research, and the Latin-American contribution to strengthening capacity in cancer prevention and cancer control in our countries.

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