Why These Countries Have Lower Cancer Rates

8. China is creating a new treatment for liver cancer. Liver cancer is one of the most common types and one of the most aggressive, with… Trista - April 6, 2021
China is developing a nanometer material to complement radiotherapy and combat liver cancer. Credit: Shutterstock

8. China is creating a new treatment for liver cancer.

Liver cancer is one of the most common types and one of the most aggressive, with a 5-year survival rate of 28%. China has the highest liver cancer rate globally and is the second leading cause of premature death in adults 30-60 years old. Fortunately, the cases and deaths are now decreasing. Why? It is thanks to programs for preventing aflatoxin exposure and familial transmission of hepatitis B virus. The virus is one of the two major contributors to liver cancer. What is even better, they are working on creating a material to treat this disease.

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Chinese scientists are developing a nanometer material integrated with radiotherapy. It will provide an efficient and safe strategy for treating liver cancer. Even if radiotherapy is a standard form of treating cancer, hypoxic microenvironments prevalent in solid tumors are not sensitive to radiation, allowing some cancer cells to survive and continue spreading. So scientists at the Suzhou Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Technology are fabricating a nanoparticle made of silicon dioxide and gold. It can reach tumor tissues by intravenous injection, enhancing the sensitivity of tumor tissue to radiation, making radiotherapy more effective.

The Netherlands is looking for ways to make people healthier by using bicycles instead of cars. Credit: Shutterstock

7. The Netherlands promoting cycling to get people moving.

Being the number ten in the ranking for the highest cancer deaths, with 334 cases every 100,000 people, the Netherlands is looking for ways to make people healthier and active by investing 552 million Euros on bicycle infrastructure. You may be asking yourself why, well not only is it better for the environment, by using bikes instead of cars, but it’s also a way to fight this disease. Most of the most common types in the Netherlands are associated with excess body weight and physical inactivity. Just by keeping their citizens on the move, it had lower deaths by 6,500.

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They are making a freeway for cyclists, which have routes connecting cities 10 miles apart and adding 25,000 more bike parking spaces around Amsterdam’s Central Station, Heerlen Station, and Rotterdam Central. They aim to get 200,000 people added to the 17 million that already use this transportation method. Since distances between cities are short, since the 1960s the urban planning has ensured that The Netherlands has a way to reduce traffic. This solution to push people to use a more active transportation method saves lives, helps pollution, and educates the citizens on getting in shape.

This country’s government is fighting health care inequality by making public health insurance. Credit: Shutterstock

6. Mexico’s health insurance fighting health inequities. 

In 2020, breast cancer was the most deadly type of cancer among Mexican women, while prostate cancer caused the largest number of deaths among Mexican male patients. Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death among Mexican children. So in 2002, the government of Mexico, to reduce health inequities, created Seguro Popular as public health insurance that can cover a wide range of services without any co-pays. Before making this Universal Health insurance, only half of the Mexican population had health insurance, mainly through their employer. The rest, like the self-employed, unemployed, and underemployed, didn’t have any other choice than to access health services via public providers with co-pay or paying for private care. Mexico’s Seguro Popular health care will cover rates between indigenous and non-indigenous populations.

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Today, Seguro Popular offers universal health coverage mandatory and has improved access to care, treatment, and survival to many people, raising the survival rate for breast cancer and childhood cancer patients. Seguro Popular is gradually expanding to include 55.6 million more people, and between 2009 and 2013, around 24 million people joined, with over 22 million affiliates receiving a preventive health risk screening. It had also virtually eliminated the gap in insurance coverage rates between indigenous and non-indigenous populations, offering the same advances in narrowing service utilization gaps and even health outcomes. 

The tax revenue will go to improving the infrastructure and health care system. Credit: Shutterstock

5. The Philippines is taxing people for smoking.

We all know how harmful smoking tobacco can be for humans. Lung cancer is on the rise in the Philippines, making the government find ways to lower the cases by creating a new tobacco tax law that increases the cigarette taxes, with an incremental increase every three years and a 5% indexation from 2024 onwards. All this new tax revenue will go to universal healthcare for low-income people, improve health infrastructure, and help tobacco farming communities. This law will save thousands of people, providing them with the right health care for early detection and treatment. 

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The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that this new tobacco tax measure will save around 260,000 lives by 2023 and decrease deaths attributed to smoking. It will also reduce the number of cigarette smokers by one million, just with this tobacco tax rate. This law will also apply to the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems and heated tobacco products. There is still work to be done, like restricting the marketing and promotion of electronic nicotine delivery systems and heated tobacco products, especially those with unproven health claims. However, this is a giant step to lower the cases and save more lives. 

Access Initiative for Quitting Tobacco donated nicotine replacement therapy to help thousands of Jordanians quit smoking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Jordan is getting rid of smoking during the pandemic.

There is a silver lining during this COVID-19 crisis. There is evidence that shows that smokers are more vulnerable than non-smokers in the pandemic. Johnson & Johnson Consumer Health, with their partnership with the Access Initiative for Quitting tobacco, decided to donate $800,000 worth of nicotine replacement therapy that aims to help thousands of Jordanians and refugees to quit smoking during the pandemic. This donation to the Ministry of Health in Jordan will also come with free counseling free of charge to help people quit smoking. It is available for anyone that needs it.

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Expanding these services within their primary health care will also help the 5,400 frontline workers that have their hands busy at the moment. Jordan is the first country to take this help. It is a joint initiative between the World Health Organization, the UN Interagency Task Force on NCD Prevention and Control, and the Coalition for Access to NCD Medicines and Products. This initiative is designed to help countries have a smoking cessation service. The service will help physically with nicotine replacement therapy and tobacco’s mental addiction. We will have to wait and see how effective this will be for lowering the cases of lung cancer.

Child obesity and lack of exercise can lead to childhood cancer. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Mongolia is not taking breaks to lower mortality rates.

Mongolia is on the list of the highest mortality rates due to non-communicable diseases, including most cancers. In 2018 alone, six of the ten deaths in Mongolia were due to cardiovascular disease or cancer. With a high population being smokers, the high risk of child and adult obesity has increased over the last two decades. The government approved a National Sustainable Development Vision 2030, which will reduce mortality by cancer and other diseases to 17 cases out of 10,000 people. This plan will ensure their healthcare system has an upgrade to work on lowering the death numbers.

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The Mongolian Government Ministry of Health joined forces with the World Health Organization and the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They create a guide on identifying patients at high risk of non-communicable disease and using an ePrescription to gather essential data. With this, people will better understand the risk factors, get better health financing, and improve evidence-based management in primary care. They can also strengthen mechanisms for monitoring, capacity building, and surveillance. It will also help train the clinical staff, get new resources and get new equipment to improve patient care and offer the proper treatment.

Because of poor awareness and lack of a screening policy, Nigeria has alarmingly high cervical cancer cases. Credit: Shutterstock

2. First Ladies of Nigeria in the quest of eliminating cervical cancer.

Nigeria has one of the highest numbers for cervical cancer in the world. In 2018 alone, they reported over 15,000 cases and over 10,000 deaths from this disease. However, these cases deal with poor awareness mixed with a flawed healthcare system. They lacks a screening policy and accurate diagnostic tools that are so important to lower mortality. So in August of 2020, 194 countries took a stand against cervical cancer and committed to eliminating it. The First Ladies of Nigeria is an organization that serves as advocacy to increase awareness, access to cancer care and influence policy direction in Nigeria to reduce the cases in the country. They are calling into action to eliminate cervical cancer by the end of 2030. 

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The First Ladies call other countries to get on the same path for cervical cancer elimination with some targets in mind to achieve it by 2030. In the objectives, they have vaccinating 90% of girls younger than 15 years old with the HPV vaccine. Also, 70% of women screened twice in their lifetime, using a high-performance test. Furthermore, having 90% of the women identified with cervical cancer receive the treatment. Even if it’s a very ambitious objective, the First Ladies of Nigeria are committed to their mission. Even with the dismal healthcare delivery and production rate of the vaccines, they aim to change that. These ladies wish to get rid of this disease once and for all.   

Overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun can put you at risk of getting skin cancer. Credit: Shutterstock

1. America and its mission to prevent skin cancer.

Skin cancer is one of the most common types, just in the United States. Almost 5 million people are treated for skin cancer, and new cases keep growing. Most types of skin cancer are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and tanning devices. With 82,000 diagnosed every year and 8,000 fatalities from it, it has become the National Center of Chronic Diseases, something to educate about, especially because teens and young adults are more in danger. Learning how to protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation will help you not to become a victim of it.  

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The CDC is working to prevent this disease by detecting it early and reducing the health care cost. One of the best ways to reduce skin cancer is to make sure that when having fun in the sun, especially if it’s a daily habit, to avoid sun tanning and indoor tanning at all costs. The CDC also works with communities and decision-makers to increase shade at playgrounds, public pools, and other public spaces. It is also vital to promote sun protection by using sunscreen, sunglasses, hats that can protect you from the rays. 

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