Rehabilitation for cancer survivors: How we can reduce the healthcare service inequality in low- and middle income countries.

Cancer diagnosis often substantially affects patient’s physical, psychological, and emotional status. The majority of cancer patients experience declining of energy, activity levels, social-cultural participation and relationships. In addition, cancer progression and side effects of aggressive cancer treatment often cause debilitating pain, fatigue, weakness, joint stiffness, depression, emotional instability, limited mobility, poor nutritional status, skin breakdown, bowel dysfunction, swallowing difficulty, and lymphedema leading into functional impairment and disability that can be addressed through rehabilitation care. Comprehensive care models by involving cancer rehabilitation have resulted in significant improvement of patient’s quality of life. Although cancer rehabilitation has been implemented in many high income countries, it is either not yet or sub-optimally delivered in most low and middle income countries. In this review, we discussed gaps regarding cancer rehabilitation services and identified opportunities to improve quality of cancer care in developing countries. Future collaborations among international organizations and stakeholders of health care delivery systems are required to initiate and improve high quality cancer rehabilitation in the developing countries.

Barriers and facilitators to implementation of cancer treatment and palliative care strategies in low- and middle-income countries: systematic review.

To appraise improvement strategies adopted by low- and middle-income countries to increase access to cancer treatments and palliative care; and identify the facilitators and barriers to implementation.A systematic review was conducted and reported in accordance with PRISMA statement. MEDLINE, CINAHL, and the Cochrane Library databases were searched. Bias was assessed using the Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence, and evidence graded using the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council system.Of 3069 articles identified, 18 studied were included. These studies involved less than a tenth (n?=?12, 8.6%) of all low- and middle-income countries. Most were case reports (58%), and the majority focused on palliative care (n?=?11, 61%). Facilitators included: stakeholder engagement, financial support, supportive learning environment, and community networks. Barriers included: lack of human resources, financial constraints, and limited infrastructure.There is limited evidence on sustainable strategies for increasing access to cancer treatments and palliative care in low- and middle-income countries. Future strategies should be externally evaluated and be tailored to address service delivery; workforce; information; medical products, vaccines, and technologies; financing; and leadership and governance.

Pilot study assessing the direct medical cost of treating patients with cancer in Kenya; findings and implications for the future.

Currently the majority of cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where there are appreciable funding concerns. In Kenya, most patients currently pay out of pocket for treatment, and those who are insured are generally not covered for the full costs of treatment. This places a considerable burden on households if family members develop cancer. However, the actual cost of cancer treatment in Kenya is unknown. Such an analysis is essential to better allocate resources as Kenya strives towards universal healthcare.To evaluate the economic burden of treating cancer patients.Descriptive cross-sectional cost of illness study in the leading teaching and referral hospital in Kenya, with data collected from the hospital files of sampled adult patients for treatment during 2016.In total, 412 patient files were reviewed, of which 63.4% (n?=?261) were female and 36.6% (n?=?151) male. The cost of cancer care is highly dependent on the modality. Most reviewed patients had surgery, chemotherapy and palliative care. The cost of cancer therapy varied with the type of cancer. Patients on chemotherapy alone cost an average of KES 138,207 (USD 1364.3); while those treated with surgery cost an average of KES 128,207 (1265.6), and those on radiotherapy KES 119,036 (1175.1). Some patients had a combination of all three, costing, on average, KES 333,462 (3291.8) per patient during the year.The cost of cancer treatment in Kenya depends on the type of cancer, the modality, cost of medicines and the type of inpatient admission. The greatest contributors are currently the cost of medicines and inpatient admissions. This pilot study can inform future initiatives among the government as well as private and public insurance companies to increase available resources, and better allocate available resources, to more effectively treat patients with cancer in Kenya. The authors will be monitoring developments and conducting further research.

Cost-effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening in Ukraine.

Background
Colorectal cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide and is associated with high mortality when detected at a later stage. There is a paucity of studies from low and middle income countries to support the cost-effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening. We aim to analyze the cost-effectiveness of colorectal cancer screening compared to no screening in Ukraine, a lower-middle income country.

Methods
We developed a deterministic Markov cohort model to assess the cost-effectiveness of three colorectal cancer screening strategies [fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year, flexible sigmoidoscopy with FOBT every 5 years, and colonoscopy every 10 years] compared to no screening. We modeled outcomes in terms of cost per quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) over a lifetime time horizon. We performed sensitivity analyses on treatment adherence, test characteristics and costs. Analyses were conducted from the perspective of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

Results
The base-case lifetime cost-effectiveness analysis showed that all three screening strategies were cost saving compared to no screening, and among the three strategies, colonoscopy every 10 years was the dominant strategy compared to no screening with standard adherence to treatment. When decreased adherence to treatment was modeled, colonoscopy every 10 years was the most cost-effective strategy with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $843 per QALY compared with no screening.

Conclusion
Our findings indicate that colorectal cancer screening can save money and improve health compared to no screening in Ukraine. Colonoscopy every 10 years is superior to the other screening modalities evaluated in this study. This knowledge can be used to concentrate efforts on developing a national screening program in Ukraine.

Operations for Suspected Neoplasms in a Resource-Limited Setting: Experience and Challenges in the Eastern Democratic of Congo.

Introduction
Surgery is an essential component of a functional health system, with surgical conditions accounting for nearly 11–15% of world disability. While communicable diseases continue to burden low- and low–middle-income countries, non-communicable diseases, such as cancer, are an important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Preliminary data on malignancies in low- and middle-income countries, specifically in Africa, suggest a higher mortality compared to other regions of the world, a difference partially explained by limited availability of screening and early detection systems as well as poorer access to treatment.

Objective
To evaluate the diagnosed tumor burden in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and review literature on existing and suspected barriers to accessing appropriate oncologic care.

Methods
This is a retrospective study carried out at Healthcare, Education, community Action, and Leadership development Africa, a 197-bed tertiary referral hospital, in the Province of North Kivu, along the eastern border of the DRC from 2012 to 2015. Patient charts were reviewed for diagnoses of presumed malignancy with biopsy results.

Results
A total of 252 cases of suspected cancer were reviewed during the study period; 39.7% were men. The average age of patients was 43 years. Amongst adult patients, the most common presenting condition involved breast lesions with 5.8% diagnosis of fibrocystic breast changes and 2.9% invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast. 37.3% of female patients had lesions involving the cervix or uterus. The most common diagnosis amongst male adults was prostate disease (16.7% of men). For pediatric patients, the most common diagnoses involved bone and/or cartilage (27.3%) followed by skin and soft tissue lesions (20.0%). All patients underwent surgical resection of lesions; some patients were advised to travel out of country for chemotherapy and radiation for which follow-up data are unavailable.

Conclusion
Adequate and timely treatment of malignancy in the DRC faces a multitude of challenges. Access to surgical services for diagnosis and management as well as chemotherapeutic agents is prohibitively limited. Increased collaboration with local clinicians and remote specialist consultants is needed to deliver subspecialty care in resource-poor settings.

The increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases in low-middle income countries: the view from Malawi.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death globally, the majority of these being due to cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, or diabetes. Mortality from many NCDs continues to increase worldwide, with a disproportionately larger impact in low-middle income countries (LMIs), where almost 75% of global deaths occur from these causes. As a low-income African country that consistently ranks amongst the world’s poorest nations, Malawi as a case study demonstrates how transition due to societal change and increasing urbanization is often accompanied by a rise in the rate of NCDs. Other factors apart from changing lifestyle factors can explain at least some of this increase, such as the complex relationship between communicable and NCD and growing environmental, occupational, and cultural pressures. Malawi and other LMIs are struggling to manage the increasing challenge of NCDs, in addition to an already high communicable disease burden. However, health care policy implementation, specific health promotion campaigns, and further epidemiological research may be key to attenuating this impending health crisis, both in Malawi and elsewhere. This review aims to examine the effects of the major NCDs in Malawi to help inform future public health care policy in the region.

Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Declining Rates of Chronic and Recurrent Infection and Their Possible Role in the Origins of Non-communicable Diseases.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as atherosclerosis and cancers, are a leading cause of death worldwide. An important, yet poorly explained epidemiological feature of NCDs is their low incidence in under developed areas of low-income countries and rising rates in urban areas.With the goal of better understanding how urbanization increases the incidence of NCDs, we provide an overview of the urbanization process in sub-Saharan Africa, discuss gene expression differences between rural and urban populations, and review the current NCD determinant model. We conclude by identifying research priorities.Declining rates of chronic and recurrent infection are the hallmark of urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa. Gene profiling studies show urbanization results in complex molecular changes, with almost one-third of the peripheral blood leukocyte transcriptome altered. The current NCD determinant model could be improved by including a possible effect from declining rates of infection and expanding the spectrum of diseases that increase with urbanization.Urbanization in sub-Saharan Africa provides a unique opportunity to investigate the mechanism by which the environment influences disease epidemiology. Research priorities include: (1) studies to define the relationship between infection and risk factors for NCDs, (2) explaining the observed differences in the inflammatory response between rural and urban populations, and (3) identification of animal models that simulate the biological changes that occurs with urbanization. A better understanding of the biological changes that occur with urbanization could lead to new prevention and treatment strategies for some of the most common surgical diseases in high-income countries.