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Women’s Cancer Needs to Be a Global Priority

Women’s Cancer Needs to Be a Global Priority by Dr. John R. Seffrin


Dr. John R. Seffrin, the CEO of the American Cancer Society, wrote an article in 2012 titled Women’s Cancer Needs to Be a Global Priority: Why a Multi-sector Commitment Is Needed to Reduce the Burden of Women’s Cancers. The article discusses women’s cancer citing the need for stakeholders to prioritize this issue as a global health problem. Seffrin argues that cancer is a leading cause of death among women with approximately 3.3 million women have succumbed to the disease in 2008.

In reality, this number is likely to double by 2030 as the women population grows and ages if collaborative measures are not taken. Seffrin states that breast cancer is the leading killer of women globally while cervical cancer follows closely behind. It is important to address breast, as well as cervical cancer in women as a global health problem and more so among the developing countries in Africa (Seffrin).


John Seffrin’s article argues that breast cancer is the number one killer of women globally among all other cancers. He states that this continues to grow each year, because of lifestyle changes and insufficient resources. The article mentions that high-risk behaviors and lifestyles change as economies continue to grow in contributing to cancer cases. Seffrin claims that breast and cervical cancer despite available treatments after early detection continues to claim the lives of many women. Developing countries like South Central Asia and Africa report the highest women mortality rates.

Seffrin argues that governments, civil societies, health institutions, and other stakeholders’ efforts continue to offer the necessary support to deal with women's cancers. However, he also concludes that these institutions need to contribute even more and act fast to curb the problem as it is escalating. He gives evidence of Africa where women faced with any form of cancer suffer a death sentence, because of poor resources and stigma caused by lack of awareness (Seffrin).


Personally, I feel that the article addresses the problem of cancer among women amicably, because sufficient research and support has not been accorded. Cancer cases, especially in developed countries, continue to increase as women age. However, women even in their prime years suffer from cancer because of lifestyle changes and high-risk behaviors such as alcohol or cigarette smoking. These lifestyle changes make it difficult to control women's cancer, and it calls for more support in this field. In essence, government, civil societies, health organizations, and other stakeholders contribute greatly to bringing awareness and resources to deal with the rising cases of women's cancer. For instance, the area of breast cancer has been profoundly enhanced by modern medicine as a result of the wide awareness these institutions provide (Seffrin).

In fact, in developing countries, women do not have enough support to deal with cancer. Many women from developing countries succumb to this disease for the reason that they do not have awareness or resources to fight the diseases. Unfortunately, stakeholders, especially organizations from developed countries, have not provided enough support or resources to the developing nations. Poor nations do not have the means to open doors to research and equipment needed in dealing with women's cancer. Additionally, only a few organizations from developed countries interact with communities from poor nations to offer them awareness. Most probably, this scenario continues to contribute to the rising cases of cancer deaths for many women in the developing world (Seffrin).

In reality, cervical and breast cancer needs a lot of resources and research to generate enough findings to get the right treatment. From my point of view, things like screening equipment, vaccines, and cancer medicine do not reach many women in poor nations. This occurs because of the stigma associated with cancer in poor countries since communities do not have awareness. I understand that people in countries like Africa are more afraid of cancer than HIV aids. HIV medications can easily be accessed in many nations today, because of the efforts of creating awareness and support. However, when it comes to cancer, the disease remains strange to many people, especially in rural Africa (Seffrin).

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In this case, there is a need for community support from organizations in the developed world to kill the stigma associated with cancer. Stakeholders need to provide community health through collaboration with government agencies in these developing nations. Campaigns need to be set up in these areas, especially in rural Africa where few people know of the disease. They require education, guidance, and resources like screening, vaccines and affordable cancer medication to women. Additionally, cancer forums where women are invited to share their concerns, how they battled cancer, and means of coping need to be increased (Seffrin).

Efforts of governments, civil societies, and all organizations that deal with non-communicable diseases like cancer need to be appreciated. Many organizations, especially from western countries, have provided an opportunity for poor nations to get access to information on women's cancer. Additional support, however, ought to be provided, because few of these organizations reach the poor rural communities. Other groups need to partner with African nations to create awareness of the need to change lifestyle behaviors like smoking and alcohol use. Partnering with African governments and other organizations would make it easier to spread the message of women's cancer at a faster rate (Seffrin).


In essence, Seffrin’s article exposes the threat of cervical as well as breast cancer among women and claims it to be a major global health problem. It is important to understand that a huge death toll occurs in developing countries like those in Africa, because of cancer. These countries lack resources and access to proper medical care for their women, leading to stigma, as well as the death of many. Health organizations need to unite and focus on women's health not only in developed countries but also in developing nations. Awareness and support for women's health are paramount in dealing with the rising concern of cancer among women.

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