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August 2016

The Potential Role of Patient Navigation in Low- and Middle-Income Countries for Patients With Cancer

Author Affiliations
  • 1Global Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Hematology and Oncology, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico
  • 3Avon International Breast Cancer Program, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston
JAMA Oncol. 2016;2(8):994-995. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.0766

Noncommunicable diseases such as cancer are surpassing infectious diseases as the most threatening health care concern in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Cancer incidence rates in high-income countries (HICs) are plateauing or even declining, whereas in LMICs, cancer incidence is rising owing to aging, Western lifestyles, cancer-causing infections, smoke exposure, and carcinogenic environmental factors, among others.1 Compounded by the fact that fragmented health care systems are ill-equipped to respond to this trend, LMICs bear a greater cancer mortality burden, with a mortality-to-incidence ratio almost twice that seen in HICs.1 This global disparity in cancer mortality can be mainly attributed to presentation at more advanced stages of disease and the lack of access to timely cancer care in LMICs.

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