Burden and trend of colorectal cancer in 54 countries of Africa 2010–2019: a systematic examination for Global Burden of Disease

Colorectal cancer plays significant role in morbidity, mortality and economic cost in Africa.

To investigate the burden and trends of incidence, mortality, and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) of colorectal cancer in Africa from 2010 to 2019.

This study was conducted according to Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2019 analytic and modeling strategies. The recent GBD 2019 study provided the most updated and compressive epidemiological evidence of cancer incidence, mortality, years lived with disability (YLDs), years of life lost (YLLs), and DALYs.

In 2019, there were 58,000 (95% UI: 52,000–65,000), 49,000 (95% UI: 43,000–54,000), and 1.3 million (95% UI: 1.14–1.46) incident cases, deaths and DALYs counts of colorectal cancer respectively in Africa. Between 2010 and 2019, incidence cases, death, and DALY counts of CRC were significantly increased by 48% (95% UI: 34–62%), 41% (95% UI: 28–55%), and 41% (95% UI: 27–56%) respectively. Change of age-standardised rates of incidence, death and DALYs were increased by 11% (95% UI: 1–21%), 6% (95% UI: − 3 to 16%), and 6% (95% UI: − 5 to 16%) respectively from 2010 to 2019. There were marked variations of burden of colorectal cancer at national level from 2010 to 2019 in Africa.

Increased age-standardised death rate and DALYs of colorectal cancer indicates low progress in CRC standard care-diagnosis and treatment, primary prevention of modifiable risk factors and implementation of secondary prevention modality. This serious effect would be due to poor cancer infrastructure and policy, low workforce capacity, cancer center for diagnosis and treatment, low finical security and low of universal health coverage in Africa.

Physicians’ Perceptions of and Satisfaction With Artificial Intelligence in Cancer Treatment: A Clinical Decision Support System Experience and Implications for Low-Middle–Income Countries

As technology continues to improve, health care systems have the opportunity to use a variety of innovative tools for decision-making, including artificial intelligence (AI) applications. However, there has been little research on the feasibility and efficacy of integrating AI systems into real-world clinical practice, especially from the perspectives of clinicians who use such tools. In this paper, we review physicians’ perceptions of and satisfaction with an AI tool, Watson for Oncology, which is used for the treatment of cancer. Watson for Oncology has been implemented in several different settings, including Brazil, China, India, South Korea, and Mexico. By focusing on the implementation of an AI-based clinical decision support system for oncology, we aim to demonstrate how AI can be both beneficial and challenging for cancer management globally and particularly for low-middle–income countries. By doing so, we hope to highlight the need for additional research on user experience and the unique social, cultural, and political barriers to the successful implementation of AI in low-middle–income countries for cancer care.

Randomized Controlled Trials in Lung, Gastrointestinal, and Breast Cancers: An Overview of Global Research Activity

Background: In this study, we compared and contrasted design characteristics, results, and publications of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in gastrointestinal (GI), lung, and breast cancer. Methods: A PUBMED search identified phase III RCTs of anticancer therapy in GI, lung, and breast cancer published globally during the period 2014–2017. Descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and the Kruskal–Wallis test were used to compare RCT design, results, and output across the cancer sites. Results: A total of 352 RCTs were conducted on GI (36%), lung (29%), and breast (35%) cancer. Surrogate endpoints were used in 55% of trials; this was most common in breast trials (72%) compared to GI (47%) and lung trials (43%, p < 0.001). Breast trials more often met their primary endpoint (54%) than GI (41%) and lung trials (41%) (p = 0.024). When graded with the ESMO-MCBS, lung cancer trials (50%, 15/30) were more likely to meet the threshold for substantial benefit. GI trials were published in journals with a substantially lower impact factor (IF; median IF 13) than lung (median IF 21) and breast cancer trials (median IF 21) (p = 0.038). Conclusions: Important differences in RCT design and output exist between the three major cancer sites. Use of surrogate endpoints and the magnitude of benefit associated with new treatments vary substantially across cancer sites.

Cancer Burden Among Arab-World Females in 2020: Working Toward Improving Outcomes

Cancer is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. This work presents the Arab-world females’ cancers (AFCs) statistics in 2020, compared with the 2018 AFCs statistics, the Arab-world male cancers statistics, and the world females’ cancers (WFCs) statistics in 2020. This can help set the stage for a better policy for cancer control programs and improve outcomes.

A descriptive review of the 2020 Global Cancer Observatory concerning AFCs was performed. Data on various cancers were compiled and compared among the countries in the region and WFCs.

A total estimate of 244,317 new cases and 132,249 deaths is reported in AFCs; representing 2.65% and 2.99% of WFCs, respectively, with an average crude incidence/mortality ratio of 116.2 (/100,000 population)/62.9 (/100,000 population) and an age-standardized incidence/mortality ratio of 137.7(/100,000 population)/77.2(/100,000 population) compared with 238.8(/100,000 population)/114.6(/100,000 population) and 186(/100,000 population)/84.2(/100,000 population) of WFCs, respectively. Five-year prevalent cases were 585,295; 2.28% of WFCs. In comparison to males, females accounted for 47.8% of the whole population, 52.9% in incidence, 46.9% in mortality, and 56.9% in the prevalence of patients with cancer. Mortality-to-incidence ratio (MIR) was 0.54 (range 0.39-0.62 in Arab countries, compared with 0.48 globally), and it ranged from 0.14 to 0.97 in the 30 AFC types. Breast cancer was the most common cancer in incidence and mortality, with an MIR of 0.39.

The 2020 descriptive analysis of the females’ cancers in the Arab world revealed a relatively high MIR compared with females’ cancers worldwide; a lower MIR compared with the males; and comparable MIR to 2018 one. We call for more in-depth studies to determine the causes of these differences that might translate into actionable interventions and better outcomes.

Hyperthermia: A Potential Game-Changer in the Management of Cancers in Low-Middle-Income Group Countries

Loco-regional hyperthermia at 40–44 °C is a multifaceted therapeutic modality with the distinct triple advantage of being a potent radiosensitizer, a chemosensitizer and an immunomodulator. Risk difference estimates from pairwise meta-analysis have shown that the local tumour control could be improved by 22.3% (p < 0.001), 22.1% (p < 0.001) and 25.5% (p < 0.001) in recurrent breast cancers, locally advanced cervix cancer (LACC) and locally advanced head and neck cancers, respectively by adding hyperthermia to radiotherapy over radiotherapy alone. Furthermore, thermochemoradiotherapy in LACC have shown to reduce the local failure rates by 10.1% (p = 0.03) and decrease deaths by 5.6% (95% CI: 0.6–11.8%) over chemoradiotherapy alone. As around one-third of the cancer cases in low-middle-income group countries belong to breast, cervix and head and neck regions, hyperthermia could be a potential game-changer and expected to augment the clinical outcomes of these patients in conjunction with radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. Further, hyperthermia could also be a cost-effective therapeutic modality as the capital costs for setting up a hyperthermia facility is relatively low. Thus, the positive outcomes evident from various phase III randomized trials and meta-analysis with thermoradiotherapy or thermochemoradiotherapy justifies the integration of hyperthermia in the therapeutic armamentarium of clinical management of cancer, especially in low-middle-income group countries

Geographic accessibility to cancer treatment in Brazil: A network analysis

Geographic accessibility to healthcare services is a fundamental component in achieving universal health coverage, the central commitment of the Brazilian Unified Health System (SUS). For cancer patients, poor accessibility has been associated with inadequate treatment, worse prognosis, and poorer quality of life.

We explored nationwide healthcare data from the SUS health information systems, and mapped the geographic accessibility to cancer treatment in two time-frames: 2009–2010 and 2017–2018. We applied social network analysis (SNA) to estimate the commuting route, flow, and distances travelled by cancer patients to undergo surgical, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy treatment.

A total of 12,751,728 treatment procedures were analyzed. Overall, more than half of the patients (49·2 to 60·7%) needed to travel beyond their municipality of residence for treatment, a fact that did not change over time. Marked regional differences were observed, as patients living in the northern and midwestern regions of the country had to travel longer distances (weighted average of 296 to 870 km). Cancer care hubs and attraction poles were mostly identified in the southeast and northeast regions, with Barretos being the main hub for all types of treatment throughout time.

Important regional disparities in the accessibility to cancer treatment in Brazil were revealed, suggesting the need to review the distribution of specialized care in the country. The data presented here contribute to ongoing research on improving access to cancer care and can provide reference to other countries, offering relevant data for oncological and healthcare service evaluation, monitoring, and strategic planning.

This work was funded by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation – Fiocruz (Inova – no. 8451635123 to BPF) and the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development – CNPq (no. 407060/2018–9 to BPF); Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel – CAPES (scholarship to PCA, Finance Code 001); and Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia de Inovação em Doenças de Populações Negligenciadas (INCT-IDPN).

Western Honduras Copán Population–Based Cancer Registry: Initial Estimates and a Model for Rural Central America

Population-based cancer registries (PBCRs) are critical for national cancer control planning, yet few low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have quality PBCRs. The Central America Four region represents the principal LMIC region in the Western hemisphere. We describe the establishment of a PBCR in rural Western Honduras with first estimates for the 2013-2017 period.

The Western Honduras PBCR was established through a collaboration of academic institutions and the Honduras Ministry of Health for collection of incident cancer data from public and private health services. Data were recorded using the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) web-based platform with data monitoring and quality checks. Crude and age-standardized rates (ASRs) were calculated at the regional level, following WHO methodology.

The web-based platform for data collection, available ancillary data services (eg, endoscopy), and technical support from international centers (United States and Colombia) were instrumental for quality control. Crude cancer incidence rates were 112.2, 69.8, and 154.6 per 100,000 habitants overall, males, and females, respectively (excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer). The adjusted ASRs were 84.2, 49.6, and 118.9 per 100,000 overall habitants, males, and females, respectively. The most common sites among men were stomach (ASR 26.0, 52.4%), colorectal (ASR 5.11, 10.15%), and prostate (ASR 2.7, 5.4%). The most common sites in women were cervix (ASR 34.2, 36.7%), breast (ASR 11.2, 12.3%), and stomach (ASR 10.8, 11.7%).

The Copán-PBCR represents a successful model to develop cancer monitoring in rural LMICs. Innovations included the use of the REDCap platform and leverage of Health Ministry resources. This provides the first PBCR data for Honduras and the Central America Four and confirms that infection-driven cancers, such as gastric and cervical, should be priority targets for cancer control initiatives.

The Effectiveness of Cancer Pain Management in a Tertiary Hospital Outpatient Pain Clinic in Thailand: A Prospective Observational Study

Context. In a previous retrospective study, cancer pain management was effective in 47.5% of a cohort assessed after 3 months in a pain clinic at Siriraj Hospital. New guidelines were established, including a multidisciplinary approach, availability of pain interventions, and palliative care referral. Objectives. The objective was to examine the effectiveness of the updated approach. Methods. With IRB approval, outpatients with cancer were enrolled from January to December 2018. Assessments were recorded at baseline and three consecutive visits (BL, FU1, FU2, and FU3), including Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS), side effects, and analgesic use. The primary outcome was a favorable response, defined as an NRS decrease more than 30% or NRS <4. Secondary outcomes included trends over time in BPI, ESAS, side effects, and analgesic use. Pain response predictors at FU3 were analyzed using logistic regression. Results. Among 150 patients, 72 (48%) completed follow-ups. Of these, 61% achieved a favorable response at FU3. Pain interference diminished at all visits relative to baseline (). Median morphine equivalent daily dosage (MEDD) at BL was 20 mg/day, with a statistically significant, but clinically modest increase to 26.4 mg/day at FU3. Radiation therapy during pain care was a predictor of pain responders. Conclusion. The current Siriraj multidisciplinary approach provided effective relief of pain and stabilization of other cancer-related symptoms. Radiation therapy during pain care can be used to predict pain outcomes. Ongoing improvement domains were identified and considered in the context of cultural, economic, and geographic factors.

Understanding context: A qualitative analysis of the roles of family caregivers of people living with cancer in Vietnam and the implications for service development in low-income settings

Research on the needs of family caregivers of people living with cancer remains disproportionately focused in high income contexts. This research gap adds to the critical challenge on global equitable delivery of cancer care. This study describes the roles of family caregivers of people living with cancer in Vietnam and possible implications for intervention development.

Semi-structured interviews and focus groups with family caregivers (n = 20) and health care providers (n = 22) were conducted in two national oncology hospitals. Findings were verified via workshops with carers (n = 11) and health care professionals (n = 28) in five oncology hospitals representing different regions of Vietnam. Data was analyzed collaboratively by an international team of researchers according to thematic analysis.

Family caregivers in Vietnam provide an integral role in the delivery of inpatient cancer care. In the hospital environment families are responsible for multiple roles including feeding, hydration, changing, washing, moving, wound care and security of personal belongings. Central to this role is primary decision making in terms of treatment and end-of-life care; relaying information, providing nutritional, emotional and financial support. Families are forced to manage severe complications and health care needs with minimal health literacy and limited health care professional input.

Understanding context and the unique roles of family caregivers of people living with cancer is critical in the development of supportive services. As psycho-oncology develops in low and middle income contexts, it is essential that family caregiver roles are of significant importance.

Global Radiotherapy: Current Status and Future Directions—White Paper

Recognizing the increase in cancer incidence globally and the need for effective cancer control interventions, several organizations, professional bodies, and international institutions have proposed strategies to improve treatment options and reduce mortality along with minimizing overall incidence. Despite these efforts, an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018 was attributed to this noncommunicable disease, making it the second leading cause of death worldwide. Left unchecked, this will further increase in scale, with an estimated 29.5 million new cases and 16.3 million deaths occurring worldwide in 2040. Although it is known and generally accepted that cancer services must include radiotherapy, such access is still very limited in many parts of the world, especially in low- and middle-income countries. After thorough review of the current status of radiotherapy including programs worldwide, as well as achievements and challenges at the global level, the International Atomic Energy Agency convened an international group of experts representing various radiation oncology societies to take a closer look into the current status of radiotherapy and provide a road map for future directions in this field. It was concluded that the plethora of global and regional initiatives would benefit further from the existence of a central framework, including an easily accessible repository through which better coordination can be done. Supporting this framework, a practical inventory of competencies needs to be made available on a global level emphasizing the knowledge, skills, and behavior required for a safe, sustainable, and professional practice for various settings. This white paper presents the current status of global radiotherapy and future directions for the community. It forms the basis for an action plan to be developed with professional societies worldwide.