LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – Media OutReach – 28 March 2019 – Cancer is the world’s second biggest killer, responsible for 9.6m deaths in 2018–roughly one out of six across the globe–and the leading or second largest cause of mortality before the age of 70 in over half the world’s countries. Amid demographic changes such as population ageing, cancer incidence is set to rise by 63% between 2018 and 2040, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. A new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit looks at the complexities of this growing menace and at whether the world is ready to face it.

Cancer preparedness around the world: National readiness for a global epidemic, funded with support from Novartis, Pfizer and Roche, introduces the Index of Cancer Preparedness (ICP), which draws on a wide range of data relevant to cancer policy and control from 28 countries. The aims of the ICP are to allow benchmarking of national efforts and, even more, to initiate discussion on best practice in addressing the cancer challenge. Australia tops the ICP, followed by the Netherlands and Germany. Saudi Arabia, Romania and Egypt face the largest room for improvement.

The ICP explores the issue of cancer preparedness through three broad domains:

  1. policy and planning;
  2. care delivery; and
  3. health systems and governance.

The index shows that the highest scores on average are found in policy and planning. However, the countries’ performances get weaker when moving from policy to implementation to overall health system readiness and governance. This is particularly the case in middle- and low-income countries.

The report identifies the four essentials of cancer preparedness. First, essential investment refers to appropriate spending and resources dedicated to cancer care. Second essential roadmap refers to effective planning, especially via national cancer control plans. Third, essential foundation refers to the need to embed cancer control in an accessible, general health system. And fourth, essential intelligence refers to the need to measure the nature of the challenge as well as how well interventions are working, for example via population-based cancer registries.

Martin Koehring, managing editor at the EIU, added: “No health system, no government and no society can afford a lukewarm response to cancer. This group of diseases is already the world’s second biggest killer and costs the global economy upwards of US$1trn per year. The ICP is a useful benchmarking tool to help policymakers and other key stakeholders to identify where their countries stand in cancer control compared with their peers and how they can boost their preparedness.”

View the index results and read the accompanying white paper

The content of this report is solely the responsibility of the Economist Intelligence Unit and the views expressed are not necessarily those of any of the sponsors.

About The Economist Intelligence Unit

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