Lancet: quantifying the global need for cancer physicians


  • Dawn O'Shea
  • Univadis Medical News
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Between 2018 and 2040, the number of patients requiring first-line chemotherapy is expected to rise by 53 per cent globally, according to a modelling study published in the Lancet Oncology.

The study is the first to estimate the scale of chemotherapy provision needed at national, regional and global scales to respond to increasing cancer prevalence. It estimated cancer incidence and mortality using data from the GLOBOCAN observatory produced by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Optimal chemotherapy utilisation from evidence-based guidelines was applied to the data to generate the number of new patients requiring first-course chemotherapy in 2018 and 2040.

The analysis found that between 2018 and 2040, the number of patients requiring first-course chemotherapy annually will increase from 9.8 million to 15.0 million, a relative increase of 53 per cent.

The most common indications for chemotherapy in 2040 will be lung cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

The study estimates that 100,000 cancer physicians will be required worldwide by 2040 to deliver optimal chemotherapy, with estimates ranging from 50,000 to 150,000, depending on workload.

The authors concluded: “Strategic investments in chemotherapy service provision and cancer physicians are needed to meet the projected increased demand for chemotherapy in 2040”.