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Our medical understanding of cancer today is unprecedented, yet it continues to be a leading cause of death globally. According to the Pan American Health Organization, cancer accounted for 1.2 million deaths in the Americas in 2008; this number is projected to increase to 2.1 million in 2030. The case for prevention is clear: approximately one third of cancer cases could be prevented by educating citizens to avoid key risk factors. However, the challenges of prevention, screening, and early detection are compounded for those who live in less developed countries in the region. Healthcare disparities within and between countries are exacerbated by limited resources, which pose severe challenges to citizens and public health systems seeking effective solutions. Collaboration between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors is necessary to discover viable solutions and deploy resources efficiently to save lives across the Western Hemisphere.

This roundtable session addressed inequalities in cancer care in the region, identified challenges to and opportunities for effective preventive measures, and facilitated collaboration among cancer experts from around the world to improve the patient experience in Latin America. The convening also focused on the timely issue of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as highlighted by the United Nations, and the responsibility of governments in the region to develop cancer control plans. 

One of the major takeaways from the discussion was that there is a big difference between cost-effectiveness and affordability of interventions in Latin America given limited resources. While an intervention may be cost effective, many lower income countries are not able to afford the initial investment and implementation of certain programs. This is why partnerships between public and private institutions are key to equitable access to quality care across the region.



Nancy Brinker, Cancer Advocate, Global Consultant & Founder, Susan G. Komen
Jorge Gomez, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Public Health, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona

Assembly Chair
Eric T. Rosenthal, Special Correspondent, MedPage Today


  • Dr. Alejandro Corvalan, President, Grupo Oncológico Cooperativo Chileno de Investigación (GOCCHI), Chile

  • Dr. Lucía Delgado Pebé, Director of the National Cancer Control Program, Ministry of Health, Uruguay

  • Dr. Rolando Herrero, Section Head, Prevention and Implementation Group, International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO

  • Dr. Julia Ismael, Scientific Director, National Institute of Cancer, Argentina

  • Dr. Raul Murillo, Director, Centro Javeriano de Oncología, Hospital Universitario San Ignacio; Former Director, National Cancer Institute, Colombia

  • Dr. Luiz Santini, Former Director-General, National Cancer Institute of the Ministry of Health of Brazil

*This event was by invitation only.


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