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Global Demand for Cancer Surgery Expected to Climb

MONDAY, Feb. 1, 2021 -- The demand for cancer surgery is projected to increase 52 percent between 2018 and 2040, with the greatest relative increase projected for low-income countries, according to a study published online Jan. 21 in The Lancet Oncology.

Sathira Kasun Perera, from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues estimated the proportion of cancer cases with an indication for surgery across 183 countries stratified by income. To obtain the estimated number of surgical procedures required globally, these proportions were multiplied by age-adjusted national estimates of new cancer cases and then were aggregated.

The researchers estimated that from 2018 to 2040, the number of cancer cases with an indication for surgery will increase 52 percent globally, by 5 million procedures (9,065,000 to 13,821,000). The greatest relative increase is projected to occur in 34 low-income countries, which also have the largest gaps in workforce requirements. The surgical and anesthesia workforces would need to increase by almost four times and 5.5 times, respectively, to match the median benchmark in high-income countries. From 2018 to 2040, the greatest increase in optimal workforce requirements will occur in low-income countries (107 percent increase in surgeons) and lower-middle-income countries (67 percent increase).

"These findings highlight a need to act quickly to ensure that increasing workforce requirements in low-income countries are adequately planned for," Perera said in a statement.

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Posted: February 2021

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