Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Refugees struggling to access cancer treatment, experts warn

Date:
May 25, 2014
Source:
The Lancet
Summary:
There is a high demand for costly cancer treatment among refugees from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Syria, with host countries struggling to find the money and the medicine to treat their new patients, new research concludes. The findings have prompted calls from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Chief Medical Expert, for innovative financing schemes to improve access to affordable high-quality cancer care for refugees.

A study published in The Lancet Oncology journal reveals a high demand for costly cancer treatment among refugees from the recent conflicts in Iraq and Syria, with host countries struggling to find the money and the medicine to treat their new patients. The findings have prompted calls from lead author Dr Paul Spiegel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Chief Medical Expert, for innovative financing schemes to improve access to affordable high-quality cancer care for refugees.

In the first study of its kind, Spiegel and colleagues examined data from funding applications made to the UNHCR Exceptional Care Committee (ECC) from refugees in Jordan and Syria whose cancer treatment costs were likely to exceed US$2000 a year.

The findings show that cancer is an important public health problem in refugee settings and highlight the huge challenges and immense costs that national health systems and humanitarian organizations face when overwhelmed by massive influxes of refugees.

For example, in Jordan the ECC assessed 1989 applications for treatment between 2010 and 2012, of which roughly a quarter (511) were for cancer -- breast cancer and colorectal cancer being the most common. Around half (48%) of these cases were approved and funded. The main reasons for denied funding were a poor prognosis (43% of cases in 2011 and 31% in 2012) or that the treatment was too costly (25% in 2011). The average amount requested from the ECC for cancer treatment was US$11 540 in 2011 and US$5151 in 2012; however, the amounts approved were substantially lower -- US$4626 in 2011 and US$3501 in 2012.

"The countries in the Middle East have welcomed millions of refugees, first from Iraq and then Syria. This massive influx has strained health systems at all levels. Despite help from international organizations and donors to expand health facilities and pay for additional personnel and drugs, it has been insufficient. The burden has fallen disproportionately on the host countries to absorb the costs. For example, the Jordanian Ministry of Health footed an estimated $53 million bill for medical care for refugees in the first four months of 2013," says Dr Spiegel.

The authors call for improved cancer prevention and treatment in refugee settings through the use of innovative financing schemes, better primary care including screening for common cancers (eg, colonoscopies and mammograms), and the development of electronic web-based cancer registries to prevent interruption of treatment.

According to Dr Spiegel, "Until now, the response to humanitarian crises have been primarily based on experiences from refugee camps in sub-Saharan Africa where infectious diseases and malnutrition have been the priority. In the 21st century, refugee situations are substantially longer and increasingly occur in middle-income countries where the levels of chronic diseases, including cancer, are higher. Cancer diagnosis and care in humanitarian emergencies typifies a growing trend towards more costly chronic disease care, something that seems to have been overlooked, but is of increasing importance because the number of refugees is growing."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Lancet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Paul Spiegel, Adam Khalifa, Farrah J Mateen. Cancer in refugees in Jordan and Syria between 2009 and 2012: challenges and the way forward in humanitarian emergencies. The Lancet Oncology, 2014; 15 (7): e290 DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(14)70067-1

Cite This Page:

The Lancet. "Refugees struggling to access cancer treatment, experts warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140525204409.htm>.
The Lancet. (2014, May 25). Refugees struggling to access cancer treatment, experts warn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140525204409.htm
The Lancet. "Refugees struggling to access cancer treatment, experts warn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140525204409.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins