At the 5th International Cancer Congress, being held in Lima, Peru, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have released the report entitled "Cancer in the Americas: Country Profiles 2013".
In the Americas, cancer represents the second leading cause of death and there was limited information available on how each country in the region were responding to this publich health problem.
The report was commissioned to answer the pressing need for more available and accurate information on the country situation with respect to epidemiological status of non-communicable diseases (NCD) and the capacity for public health programmes for prevention and control.
"Cancer in the America: Country profiles 2013" presents data made available to PAHO by its Member States on the current state of cancer risk factors, cancer mortality, cancer plans, policies and services. The objective is to synthetize, in one reference document, the state of cancer control in countries in the Americas.
The new figures show that the cancer mortality is declining in some countries of the Americas (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Venezuela and the United States), but that overall, cancer is holding steady as the second-leading cause of death in the Americas, claiming an estimated 1.3 million lives each year.
Cancer mortality rates vary for men and women as well as across countries. In Latin American and Caribbean men, the majority of cancer deaths are due to prostate cancer, followed by lung, stomach and colorectal cancers; and in women, breast cancer, followed by stomach, lung, cervical and colorectal cancers. In contrast, in Canada and the United States lung cancer is the leading cancer killer for both sexes.
Cancer morality is typically higher in men, driven by high rates of lung and prostate cancers. The exceptions are in El Salvador and Nicaragua, where female rates are higher owing to deaths from cervical and stomach cancers.
“The large number of deaths from breast and cervical cancer in Latin America and the Caribbean is very disconcerting, since cervical cancer is largely preventable, and breast cancer can be detected early and treated successfully,’’ said Silvana Luciani, PAHO/WHO advisor on cancer prevention and control. ‘’This points to the need to improve screening and treatment, especially for women in rural and remote areas, where access to health services is especially limited.”