Monday, April 4, 2016
When We are Well Enough to Get Cancer
"In the United States the median age at which colon cancer strikes is 69 for men and 73 for women. In Chad the average life expectancy at birthis about 50. Children who survive childbirth — and then malnutritionand diarrhea — are likely to die of pneumonia, tuberculosis, influenza,malaria, AIDS or even traffic accidents long before their cells accumulate the mutations that cause colon cancer.
In fact, cancers of any kind don’t make the top 15 causes of death in Chad — or in Somalia, the Central African Republic and other places where the average life span peaks in the low to mid-50s. Many people do die from cancer, and their numbers are multiplied by rapidly growing populations and a lack of medical care. But first come all those other threats."
Those two paragraphs are from a December article in the New York Times outlining the incidence of cancer in the developing world (deeper poverty) versus our Western communities. It suggests a mixed blazing for sure and an intriguing paradox for people with cancer:
We lived long enough-- and well enough-- to get cancer.
Reading the entire article is worth your time because in addition to showing what the greater health concerns are "there" versus "here" it also shows the terrible dilemma of what happens to cancer as countries are lifted out of deep poverty. As cancer arrives as the incidence of deadly infectious diseases recedes.
The article is sobering and surprising--and a challenge to people with cancer and to those in philanthropy and international healthcare.
Here's a link to the whole article. Do take a look:
Here is the link to the New York times article by George Johnson