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WVU Doctor Works to Reduce Cancer Burden in Africa
Date:6/12/2009

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., June 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In 2010, cancer will be the single leading cause of death worldwide, overtaking chronic illnesses such as heart disease and stroke. Already cancer causes more deaths than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Almost three-quarters of new cases will occur in developing countries, with more than a million cases in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020, according to World Health Organization projections.

Scot Remick, M.D., director of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University, is leading U.S. efforts to help prepare for the growing cancer burden in Third World nations. He heads the International Working Group of the National Cancer Institute's AIDS Malignancy Consortium, which has been instrumental in training doctors and building clinical trials for AIDS-related diseases in Uganda and Kenya.

"Most people don't realize that by 2010 cancer will be the single greatest cause of mortality worldwide," said Remick after returning from the May-June meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, where he chaired an education session on the topic. "Anywhere from 15 to 20 percent of cancers are due to transmissible causes, and healthcare professionals in the industrialized world are likely to underestimate the role of infectious agents -- even though they constitute a significant burden."

Transmissible causes include viruses such as Epstein-Barr virus, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viruses, and the human papillomavirus. Viruses may hit the developing world particularly hard, but rising rates of obesity and tobacco use are a factor, too.

"You're beginning to see Western influences on lifestyle, and this is creating impact on the cancer rate," Remick said.

Remick and an international team of researchers have just published results of the first clinical trial of its ty
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SOURCE West Virginia University Health Sciences Center
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