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Cancer
  • Cancer is a leading cause of death in the Americas. In 2012, cancer accounted for 1.3 million deaths, 47% of which occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • The number of cancer deaths in the Americas is projected to increase from 1.3 million to 2.1 million between 2012 and 2030.
  • About a third of all cancer cases could be prevented by avoiding key risk factors. These include tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.
  • Vaccination and screening programmes are effective interventions to reduce the burden of specific types of cancer.
  • Many cancers have a high chance of cure if detected early and treated adequately.

Cancer in the Americas

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Americas region, where there were an estimated 2.8 million new cancer cases and 1.3 million cancer deaths in 2012. The most common cancers in the Region include: lung, prostate and colorectal cancers in men; and breast, lung and colorectal cancers in women. With an aging population, and with the epidemiological transition in Latin America and the Caribbean, the cancer burden is projected to increase significantly.

The current scientific evidence suggests that 40% of cancers can be prevented, through reduction of risk factors and primary prevention; a further 30% can be cured if detected early and treated appropriately; and all cases of advanced cancer can benefit from palliative care.

However, countries in the Americas, especially low and middle income countries are challenged to meet the demand generated on their health systems from cancer and other chronic diseases. PAHO/WHO promotes a comprehensive approach to cancer prevention and control which includes developing a national cancer plan with evidence-based interventions for prevention, screening and early detection, diagnosis, treatment and palliative care.

:: Latest News: Cancer



Hepatitis: increasing access to diagnosis and treatment could save millions of lives in the Americas

 On World Hepatitis Day, July 28, the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) acknowledges stepped-up global and regional action to prevent and control viral hepatitis in recent years and the potential for new drugs to cure the disease. But the Organization also highlights the need to make the benefits of this progress more accessible for those who need them most.

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:: Scientific and Technical Materials: Cancer Program

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