MOSCOW, February 4. /TASS/. Oncological diseases kill about 8.8 million people around the world every year, the World Health Organization said on its website on Saturday. According to the news release timed for World Cancer Day, observed on February 4, as a rule cancer is identified at late stages.
"New WHO figures released this week indicate that each year 8.8 million people die from cancer, mostly in low-and middle-income countries. One problem is that many cancer cases are diagnosed too late," the release says.
World Health Organization specialists pay special attention to early diagnosis of cancer, because most oncological diseases are curable, if identified at early stages. Under WHO criteria cancer is regarded curable if the patient lives for more than five years after the disease has been identified. High mortality rates are usually observed among third and fourth degree cancer patients.
"By taking the steps to implement WHO’s new guidance, healthcare planners can improve early diagnosis of cancer and ensure prompt treatment, especially for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. This will result in more people surviving cancer. It will also be less expensive to treat and cure cancer patients," says Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of WHO’s Department for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.
Russian Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova has said Russia has shown a considerable improvement in terms of early cancer diagnosis and one-and five-year life expectancy among cancer patients over the past few years.
"The identification of cancer at early stages has shown noticeable improvement. More than 57% of oncological diseases in Russia are exposed at early stages," Skvortsova said.
The Health Ministry has developed new rules of comprehensive medical examination, which may take effect next year. Patients of certain age groups will enjoy the benefits of oncological screening programs.
A federal anti-cancer program is being drafted. The Russian Health Ministry’s leading outsourced cancer specialist, Mikhail Davydov, says the program will be presented at an oncological conference in Bashkortostan’s capital Ufa next summer. In fact, it will consist of individual sub-programs each region will devise for itself.
Cancer is Russia’s number two killer disease, accounting for about 14-15% of all deaths in the country, Skvortsova said.