Every year, around 10 million people worldwide are newly-diagnosed with cancer. Approximately 7.5 million people die of cancer, two-thirds of which are found in developing countries. Unchecked, another 84 million will die in the next decade. Cancer is traditionally viewed as a disease of developed countries; however, due to our relative success with decreasing mortality from infectious diseases and with an increasingly aging population, more and more developing countries are seeing a rise in newly-diagnosed cases of cancer. Yet resources, infrastructure, and systems to handle the diagnosis and management of cancer are far from adequate in these places. Often, patients present with advanced stages of cancer with little or no hope for cure.
The WHO EESC program works to prevent and detect cancers early in low- and middle-income countries by providing guidelines and training materials to teach doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers on how to perform biopsies, which can detect the early stage of cancers of the breast, cervix, skin, and mouth and allow prompt referral to more advanced health facilities.