Lung cancer is the most lethal neoplastic disease in Latin America and the one receiving the least attention from the health sector, revealed the study "Lung cancer in Latin America: it's time to stop looking from the other side" , led by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
In the study, presented in the congress of the Mexican Society of Oncology (SMEO), data were analyzed from 12 Latin American countries, indicating that in Mexico 99% of lung cancer cases are diagnosed in phase three or four while in the rest of the countries of the region the rate is 85%.
Irene Mia, EIU's global editorial director, pointed out that as far as this type of cancer is concerned, there are not enough data or records in the Latin American region, so we worked on identifying three priority areas in health policies for controlling the cancer. cancer: tobacco control, access and early diagnosis.
Health specialists, who have collaborated in the research, have discovered that the stigma on this type of cancer is a barrier that prevents the dedication of more specific policies and resources in relation to other types of cancer.
"It is thought that the patients who smoked had the disease," said Oscar Arrieta, head of the Pulmonary Unit of the National Institute of Cancerology (INCAN), and stressed that smoking is an addiction in which the Mexican state "He did not do enough to prevent."
Although smoking is still the leading cause of lung cancer, 40% is due to unrelated causes, such as the presence of arsenic in water, atmospheric pollution and the use of wood as fuel. in the kitchens.
In Mexico, this type of cancer is not covered by the Seguro Popular, which provides coverage to over 40% of the population that has no private insurance or social security, which contributes to the country's low levels in the country. tobacco control, access and early diagnosis.
In Latin America, 60,000 people die each year from lung cancer, while in 2010 10,000 new cases were diagnosed in Mexico and, according to Arrieta, by 2025 the number is expected to double to 20,000. that "the amount of mortality will be very similar".
Ricardo Pérez Cuevas, director of research at the National Institute of Public Health, stated that the study reflects the challenges to improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer and is not a unique answer to the problems connected to it in Latin America. Latin.
Pérez Cuevas said that in Mexico the INCAN, the Mexican Health Foundation and the National Institute of Public Health are working on a proposal based on the costs of combating lung cancer and smoking, which will be presented to the authorities Mexican.
"Our hope is that the policy for lung cancer treatment is stable, has the required background and we can advance in access and treatment effectiveness," concluded the specialist.