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PHL least prepared to handle cancer

How is the Philippines faring in cancer preparedness compared to its neighboring Asian countries?

In the Economist Intelligence Unit report “Cancer preparedness in Asia-Pacific: Progress toward universal cancer control” the Philippines ranked last in cancer preparedness.

The report examined the findings from the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Index of Cancer Preparedness and describes the complexities of the cancer challenge facing 10 Asia-Pacific countries: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

In the report, the Philippines got an an overall score of 42.6 out of 100 (below the regional average of 66.5), while Australia (92.4), South Korea (83.4), and Malaysia (80.3) lead the region.

The Asia-Pacific region registered approximately 8.8 million new cases and 5.5 million cancer deaths in 2018. In 2017, cancer was the third leading cause of death in the Philippines.

The problem is projected to further deteriorate because of changing demographics associated with aging populations and changing lifestyles.

Countries manifest diverse healthcare needs. Their individual responses to cancer are mainly influenced by their level of economic development.

High-income countries have firmly placed healthcare infrastructures. They are then able to deal with quality-of-care concerns.

Upper-middle-income countries are refining their universal health coverage systems to close access gaps and ensure financial sustainability.

Lower-middle-income countries are seen still setting up the foundations for an important cancer challenge.

 There is a strong association between income level and overall cancer preparedness: that is high-income countries outperform upper- and lower-middle-income countries.

Furthermore, a strong correlation was seen between the overall score in the Index of Cancer Preparedness and cancer control outcomes as measured by the ratio of mortality to cancer incidence in the countries.

This demonstrates that better preparedness to manage the cancer burden equates with achieving better cancer outcomes.

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