A snapshot of cancer in Chile: analytical frameworks for developing a cancer policy
la Jara,Jorge Jimenez de
INTRODUCTION: The South American country Chile now boasts a life expectancy of over 80 years. As a consequence, Chile now faces the increasing social and economic burden of cancer and must implement political policy to deliver equitable cancer care. Hindering the development of a national cancer policy is the lack of comprehensive analysis of cancer infrastructure and economic impact. OBJECTIVES: Evaluate existing cancer policy, the extent of national investigation and the socio-economic impact of cancer to deliver guidelines for the framing of an equitable national cancer policy. METHODS: Burden, research and care-policy systems were assessed by triangulating objective system metrics -epidemiological, economic, etc. - with political and policy analysis. Analysis of the literature and governmental databases was performed. The oncology community was interviewed and surveyed. RESULTS: Chile utilizes 1% of its gross domestic product on cancer care and treatment. We estimate that the economic impact as measured in Disability Adjusted Life Years to be US$ 3.5 billion. Persistent inequalities still occur in cancer distribution and treatment. A high quality cancer research community is expanding, however, insufficient funding is directed towards disproportionally prevalent stomach, lung and gallbladder cancers. CONCLUSIONS: Chile has a rapidly ageing population wherein 40% smoke, 67% are overweight and 18% abuse alcohol, and thus the corresponding burden of cancer will have a negative impact on an affordable health care system. We conclude that the Chilean government must develop a national cancer strategy, which the authors outline herein and believe is essential to permit equitable cancer care for the country.
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