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Archive for the ‘cancer’ Category

By: Gopika Das

India is home to 1.3 billion people, accounting for 17.5% of the world’s population . It is also home to 27% of deaths caused by cervical cancer worldwide (Cousins 2018). Despite cervical cancer having the best chances of secondary prevention, it remains a leading cause of female mortality globally. The burden of the disease is especially heightened in developing countries like India and Pakistan. In India, lack of the HPV vaccine in governmental immunisation programs and inadequate access to screening for the disease, are major contributors to the extremely high incidence rate.

It is agreed that the HPV vaccine along with early screening for cervical cancer, can prevent upto 70 percent of new cases (Swaminathan 2016). The HPV vaccine has been approved for use since 2006, and as of 2017, 71 countries have included it in their vaccine programs. India however has been extremely reluctant. While the government has severely dragged its feet on providing adequate resources, societally there is a negative association with the vaccine. In 2009 funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, the NGO PATH, launched a $3.6 million HPV program. However within a year, there was an uproar over the deaths of seven girls following the vaccine, effectively halting the program. Despite officials declaring that the deaths were not caused by the vaccine, people got scared and the aversion to the vaccine stuck.

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By: Sonya Ajani

In 2008, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) published an article entitled Cancer Health Disparities. It defined cancer health disparities as adverse differences in incidence (new cases) and prevalence (new and existing cases), mortality, cancer survivorship, and burden of cancer among various population groups in the United States. The NCI concludes that African Americans in the US are disproportionately diagnosed with breast cancer than their white counterparts.

Experts attribute this particular conclusion to two distinct factors: lack of access to health coverage and low socioeconomic status (SES). SES is primarily attributed to low income, low education, occupation, as well as most importantly built environment. As of 2014, the CDC[1] reports that the incidence of breast cancer among young African American females aged 25-45 is 125 cases per 100,000 people.

Upon reading the article from the National Cancer Institute and researching the epidemiology further, I was especially alarmed by the rates of breast cancer diagnosis among African Americans in the US. Although it is almost equal to the white population, the stark disparity of the two populations makes up for the difference. Supplementary analysis confirmed that built environment: the physical and geographical space where people live significantly contributes to the incidence and prevalence of the disease. In the age of chronic diseases the built environment can be an incredibly crucial determinant in community healthcare. I found it interesting just how much the built environment affects the incidence of breast cancer in African Americans with lower socioeconomic status.

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By Hannah Vanbenschoten

For Sara Stulac, a pediatric doctor from Rwanda, treating a young girl with a tumor the size of a cauliflower on her face was not what she expected her first experience with a patient to look like. In 2005, when the young girl came to Dr. Stulac, it was clear an oncologist was needed; unfortunately, Rwanda did not have one. The girl’s father had tried traditional healing remedies and local doctors, but the tumor grew to the point where Dr. Stulac needed to recruit satellite help from an American oncologist in order to save the girl’s life. (more…)

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-By Sarah Boyd

The Inuit population is an indigenous group inhabiting Greenland, parts of Artic Canada, and the United States (Alaska). Following centuries old tradition within harsh and chilling conditions, the Inuit obtain food through hunting, fishing, and gathering. This includes hunting fish, seal, caribou, whale, walrus, polar bear, musk ox, fox, and wolf (1). “Because the Inuit in Canada and Greenland eat top predators such as beluga whales and seals, they are among the world’s most contaminated human beings” (4). (more…)

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-By Du Vo

 

Back in high school, my uncle heard some rumors from the mainstream media that drinking from plastic bottles that have been left in the car or out in the sun could cause cancer.  Since one of our relatives passed away a couple years ago due to cervical cancer, my whole family has tried to avoid drinking from water bottles. During session three of our PH511 class, we had a chance to discuss the correlation between health and poverty. Somehow the topic of Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) was introduced. This is the research and development done to help purify water in developing countries. However, the method seems ideal and too good to be true. Thus, it causes a conflict with what I have been told at home. If microwaving food in plastic could leak some dangerous substances into the food, why couldn’t this? Weighing the pros and cons between diseases caused by polluted drinking water or chronic diseases like cancer, I wonder whether it is ideal to support SODIS if it could possibly cause cancer in developing countries, as the new cases of cancer grow. (more…)

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By  Adriana Antezana

I know to get my first mammogram when I am 40 years old. I know how to check for breast lumps. I know that smoking, alcohol consumption and poor diet all increase my likelihood of developing breast cancer. Women of all ages in the US and other developed countries have been given the education to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer; awareness is everywhere. The effect is apparent, as 90% of those diagnosed survive 5 or more years after diagnosis. This success, however, only exists in developed nations. There is a misconception that cancer is a “Western” disease or a disease of the developed world. This assumption couldn’t be more wrong. (more…)

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By Nina Roth 

The United States has made great strides in tobacco prevention, but does this hold true for the rest of the world? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Tobacco kills around 6million people worldwide every year, and that number is projected to increase.1 Due to the shrinking demand for tobacco products in the United States over the last few decades, big tobacco companies have had to look elsewhere for profits. Conveniently, tobacco companies have found emerging markets in many developing, highly populous countries in Asia. Research on tobacco trends has concluded that over the next twenty years 70 percent of tobacco related deaths will be in these less developed countries.2 This is in part due to less stringent tobacco laws and governmental regulations, lack of education and awareness, and heavy advertising from tobacco companies.

So, why should we care? Let me introduce the case of Indonesia. (more…)

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“Cancer killed 5.56 lakh in India in 2010.” The title was so absurd you have to double take. One lakh of people, for those who don’t know, is approximately 100,000 people. Sure enough, in 2010, over 5 hundred thousand people died from cancer in India, according to The Hindu, one of India’s most widely read newspapers. Among these numbers, the greatest cause of death among men was tobacco-related cancers. How can the most widespread killer be those cancers most avoidable? (more…)

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Brand name drugs are too expensive. There’s no question about that. For those of us without health insurance the price of getting well can often be prohibitive. Imagine, then, how difficult it may be for men and women in developing countries who, for all intents and purposes, are affected by the same illnesses we are. With a perspective towards global health we must ask, what can be done? A recent development out of India sheds light on the answer.

On March 12th, the Indian government granted Natco Pharma Ltd., an Indian generic pharmaceuticals company, a compulsory license to manufacture a generic version of a Bayer cancer drug, called Nexavar, used to treat kidney and liver cancers. Nexavar had previously been prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of the Indian population, 40% of which lives below the poverty line, at a monthly cost of approximately $5,500 per person. The new generic drug will be sold at approximately $175 per person per month. Under the new license, Natco will pay royalties to Bayer at a rate of 6% of sales per quarter [1,2]. (more…)

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Less is more: How can we apply this concept to standards of proper health care and prevention methods? Stein’s article about pap smears and screening for human papillomavirus (HPV) examines guidelines for testing, concluding that doctors should recommend less frequent screening tests—every three years, instead of annually. According to Stein, doctors and preventive health care organizations have found that frequent screening is less beneficial and can actually cause damage to the cervix, complications during birth, premature birth or low birth weight in infants. (more…)

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