World Cancer Day

The World Cancer Day ‘Close the Care Gap’ campaign highlights the significant inequities that persist worldwide in the availability of and access to essential cancer services. The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) recently released a well-worth-reading #EquityReport to address these inequities.

The report walks us through the different obstacles and recommendations for closing the care gap country by country. For Sweden, the disparities between income, education, and health are highlighted as the main areas of improvement to achieve the goal.

Women in areas with higher incomes and higher education participate in cervical and breast cancer screening programmes to a greater extent than women in areas with lower incomes and lower education. Cancer mortality is significantly higher among people who have an education below the secondary school level. Among men with only primary school education, the mortality is most significant.

Ulrika Årehed Kågström, Secretary-General of the Swedish Cancer Society (Cancerfonden) and President-elect of UICC, says in the report:

“For people with low socioeconomic status, the risk of dying from cancer is generally notably higher compared to those who belong to more privileged groups. People with higher education generally spend more time with healthcare professionals to ask questions when seeking care than those with only primary school education, who are more likely to refrain from care-seeking in the first place. Socioeconomic status can also influence the degree to which a cancer patient is likely to follow through on treatment.”

The report also claims three actions to close the care gap by 2030.

🔔 Sweden must establish national measurable goals for how the socioeconomic and geographical differences in cancer care are to be reduced.

🔔 There needs to be national responsibility for levelling regional differences in cancer care, with regions making positive progress and sharing learnings and successes to help other regions improve.

🔔 Finally, national support and funding are needed to implement lessons learned and proven methods to improve health in the groups where it is lowest.

To close the care gap in Sweden, we must focus on where inequity persists and guarantee every citizen equal access to quality healthcare—no matter where they live, their education level, or their socioeconomic status.

You can find the report with sources here:

World Cancer Day takes place all over the world on February 4. We can all agree that the theme is essential and that there is still much to wish for before reaching a closed care gap. Everyone deserves the same access to cancer care.

#WorldCancerDay #CloseTheCareGap

create 2024-02-01