Archive for the ‘cancer’ Category

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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