Today’s World Cancer Day calls attention to the fact that there are nearly 14 million people living in the United States today who have had a diagnosis of cancer. For the past 27 years, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) has advocated for issues related to the access, quality, and coverage of cancer related services that people with cancer receive throughout the days, months, and years following their diagnosis. We call this period from diagnosis onward “survivorship.”
The 2014 World Cancer Report, published by the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) and released to coincide with World Cancer Day, predicts an alarming rise in new cases of cancer over the next 20 years. This trend suggests that number of cancer cases will rise from an estimated 14 million in 2012 to 22 million in 2032. The report emphasizes the need for preventative measures and early detection, as well as adequate legislation to reduce exposure and risk behaviors. In regards to the economic impact of the “cancer burden”, the WHO predicts that the escalating costs associated with treatment will damage the economies of wealthy nations, while remaining beyond the reach of developing countries.
In a related news release, the WHO and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) recently reported on a global unmet need for palliative care in the “Global atlas of palliative care at the end of life”. The Atlas calls for the inclusion of palliative care as an essential component of modern health-care systems, and suggests addressing barriers such as a lack of policies recognizing palliative care; lack of resources to implement services; and lack of knowledge about the benefits of palliative care.