The Grass is Greener on Our Side of the Fence

Rodney Warner
Rodney Warner

We Americans can get very wrapped up in our own problems. The issues with Obamacare, the federal government shut down and, imagine, hazing and bullying in an NFL locker room!

I found this article on Bloomberg News Service and everyone affected by cancer should read it.  It’s about India’s health care system and the challenges it faces while treating an increasing number of cancer patients.

The third world is cancer’s next frontier. Over the past decades, due to a lot of public health work and investments and improving economies, life spans are improving. People, who decades ago may have died as children, may live into their 60’s. Given advanced age is one of the highest cancer risk factors, plus high rates of smoking overseas, cancer has become the world’s top killer.

According to the article:

Cancer is sweeping through India, taxing its doctors and stressing a health-care system already overburdened by some of the world’s sickest people. The country is home to 17 percent of the global population but suffers from 21 percent of the (cancer) disease burden, the World Health Organization says.

One person in India dies from cancer every 50 seconds. Hundreds of thousands more face surgery and years of treatment – driving a quarter of their households into poverty and making cancer the disease most likely to impoverish, according to the World Bank…

Globally, cancer emerged as the No. 1 killer in 2010, when it passed ischemic heart disease. Today, it ends more lives than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The economic toll: $1.16 trillion annually, or 1.6 percent of global gross domestic product.

Developing countries such as India face the brunt of the incursion. The (World Health Organization) report(s) more than half of new cancer cases and two-thirds of deaths (will occur in developing nations), compared with 15 percent of cases in 1970. At the same time, only 5 percent of global spending on cancer occurs in low- and middle-income countries, Harvard University researchers wrote in The Lancet in 2010…

The article states that in 2010, 52% of Indian breast cancer patients survived for five years after diagnosis, compared to 82% in China and 89% in the US. Doctors at India’s premier oncology hospital are reported to typically have less than ten minutes apiece for 1,000 newcomers a week. They often examine three people at a time in a single room.

We in America definitely have many problems with our health care system. But compared to most of our brothers and sisters in the rest of the world, we are in very good shape. Something for which we should be very grateful.

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