Science

Poverty Linked To Cancer Mortality Rates Around The World

By Monica U Santos , Nov 15, 2016 02:34 AM EST
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According to the World Health Organization, the six leading causes of cancer death are lung cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and esophageal cancer. Allt these causes may come from poverty. A study shows that it has a huge impact on cancer. Poverty contributes to an increase in cancer incidence rates and mortality. Overcoming the linked problem of poverty and cancer has been particularly difficult and although there are fewer deaths due to advancements in medicine, early detection and better treatment, those who are in the more deprived parts of society are not getting much of the meical assistance they need.

Cancer Incidence Rates Higher In The Extremely Poor Population

Cancer has higher rates of incidence and mortality among people of lower socioeconomic status. Impoverished people, whether in developed or underdeveloped countries, tend to be less educated about cancers and cancer prevention, have less access to screening, have cancers discovered in later stages, and often are less able to access and afford medical treatment. From a public health perspective, researchers have seen a decline in the percentage of adults who smoke cigarettes. Note that tobacco is the cause of more than 30 percent of cancer deaths.

As reported by the World Bank, approximately 1.3 billion people live on less than a dollar a day, and almost half of the world’s population lives on less than 2 dollars a day. While these numbers are somewhat arbitrary, as is the definition of “poverty”, they clearly indicate that the bulk of humanity is extremely poor (85% of people live in low and middle-income countries). Poverty at the level of individuals is reflected in the poverty of governments, resulting in major negative impacts upon education and health care. At the turn of the millennium, for example, a billion people were unable to read or sign their own name.

Lung Cancer Linked To Smoking And Poverty

Leslie Gordon, tobacco program coordinator for the Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit, said lung cancer mortality rates are higher in the region than the provincial average largely because of poverty rates. According to health unit data, there were nearly 500 new cases of lung cancer in Simcoe and Muskoka in 2012, which was about 63 cases per 100,000 people. The provincial average was 54 cases per 100,000 people.

“We do know smoking is by far the leading cause,” said Gordon, though she noted about 15 percent of lung cancers are among people who have never smoked. She said non-smoking causes of lung cancer could be connected to genetics, alcohol, inactivity, poor nutrition, medications and more. She added that environmental or occupational causes of lung cancer are no more significant in the area than elsewhere, though the health unit has previously warned against environmental factors.

 

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