Print Edition - 2019-05-16  |  Health and Living

Oncologist shortage predicted as cancer rates rise

  • cancer focus

May 16, 2019-

As cancer rates rise worldwide, researchers predict a shortage of specialists who can deliver chemotherapy, according to a new study.

World Health Organization projections suggest that the number of people who will need chemotherapy will rise steadily over coming decades. Unless something is done, there won’t be enough specialists to deliver those potentially life-saving treatments, researchers report in The Lancet Oncology. The number of patients who should be getting chemotherapy is expected to rise from 9.8 million to 15 million by 2040, the Australian researchers noted. And two-thirds of those patients will be from low-and middle-income countries.

Using a computer model, the researchers estimated that the number of oncologists needed to meet the demand for chemotherapy would rise from 65,000 in 2018 to 100,000 in 2040.

Of the more than 15 million people estimated to require chemotherapy in 2040, 5.2 million, or 35 percent, would be living in eastern Asia, the researchers predicted. Another 1.7 million, or 12 percent, would be residing in south central Asia; 1.4 million, or 10 percent, in North America; 980,646, or seven percent, in southeast Asia; 922,452, or six percent, in South America; and 810,084, or five percent, in western Europe. The most common indications for chemotherapy worldwide in 2040 are predicted to be lung cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer, Wilson and her colleagues noted.

While the new study has some limitations, it is a call to action, said Dr. William Nelson, director of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Most alarming are the numbers of people who will require chemotherapy. That’s expected to rise from 9.8 million to 15 million,” Nelson said. (Reuters)  

Published: 16-05-2019 23:26

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