Saturday May 25, 2019

Less than 25% of cancer patients in need of surgery have access to it: Study

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By NewsGram Staff-Writer

London: A study released on Monday by the King’s College London revealed that over 80 percent of the 15 million people diagnosed with cancer worldwide in 2015 will need surgery. But, less than 25% of such people have access to proper, affordable surgical care.

Image from www.breadforthecity.org
Image from www.breadforthecity.org

The study revealed that the access is worse in low-income countries where as many as 95 percent of people with cancer do not receive basic cancer surgery, reported Xinhua.

The researchers estimated that less than five percent patients in low-income countries and only roughly 22 percent patients in middle-income countries can access even the most basic cancer surgery.

Poor access to basic cancer surgery and good quality cancer care is not just confined to the world’s poorer countries. Survival data across Europe showed that many of the European Union member states are also not delivering high quality cancer surgery to their populations.

Surgery is the mainstay of cancer control and cure, with over 80 percent of all cancers requiring some type of surgery, in many cases multiple times, say the researchers.

By 2030, of the almost 22 million new cancer patients, over 17 million will need operations, 10 million of them in low-and-middle-income countries, says the study which has been published in the journal The Lancet Oncology.

“With many competing health priorities and substantial financial constraints in many low-and-middle-income countries, surgical services for cancer are given low priority within national cancer plans and are allocated fewer resources,” said Professor Richard Sullivan from King’s College London who had participated in the study.

With a serious shortfall of cancer surgeons in over 82 percent of countries, radical action is needed to train general surgeons to deliver basic cancer surgery, produce more gynecological and surgical oncologists, and create more high quality surgical training programs, according to the study.

(With inputs from IANS)

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East African Countries Set to Ban Skin-Lightening Products Containing Hydroquinone

If bans are not backed by enforcement, they will have little effect on the use of the high demand skin-lightening products, despite the risk to health

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skin-lightening products
FILE - Aranmolate Ayobami, plastic surgeon at Grandville Medical and Laser clinic in Lagos, holds a tube of Skinlite a skin lightening product used at his clinic, on July 17, 2018, in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

East African countries are set to ban skin-lightening products that contain hydroquinone, a medical agent linked to health problems when used in high concentrations. The East African Legislative Assembly last week passed a resolution calling for a region-wide ban on the manufacturing and importation of products containing hydroquinone.

At a beauty parlor in Arusha, 52-year-old Rose Mselle has been using skin-bleaching products since she was a teenager. She says women like her want to be beautiful. “And in the process of looking for beauty, or for our skin color to shine, we use things that we shouldn’t,” she added.

At a nearby market, 32-year-old clothing vendor Janet Jonijosefu used skin-lightening products that contain hydroquinone, a medical agent used to treat dark spots, for years. She stopped after her skin became fragile.

She said the beauty products containing hydroquinone badly affected her skin. She started developing patches on her face. She went to the doctor and was advised to stop using products containing hydroquinone and instead use aloe vera.

skin-lightening products
FILE – A shop sells skin-lightening products in Accra, Ghana, on July 3, 2018. VOA

Skin-lightening products often use high concentrations of hydroquinone, which can cause skin problems or become toxic when mixed with other bleaching chemicals.

Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa ban or regulate the agent in cosmetics. Tanzania bars imports. The East African Legislative Assembly last week passed a resolution on a region-wide ban of hydroquinone’s manufacture and importation.

Suzan Nakawuki, a member of the regional assembly from Uganda, noted that hydroquinone is not only used by women but also men. “We have seen men bleaching seriously even more than women,” she said. “But it’s becoming a problem. If we don’t regulate it, it is going to become very problematic.”

When used medically, hydroquinone can be an effective treatment for skin discoloration. Some East African lawmakers spoke out against a blanket ban. Aden Abdikadir, a lawmaker from Kenya, said he is concerned a blanket ban will cause “serious trade disruption” for cosmetics.

skin-lightening products
If bans are not backed by enforcement, they will have little effect on the use of the high demand skin-lightening products, despite the risk to health. Wikimedia Commons

If signed by heads of state, the ban becomes law in all six East African Community states, which include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Critics point out bans on hydroquinone have failed to stop smuggled products from being sold openly. Cosmetics labeled as having hydroquinone are on display at shops in Arusha.

If bans are not backed by enforcement, they will have little effect on the use of the high demand skin-lightening products, despite the risk to health. (VOA)