Harnessing information and communication technologies to leverage scarce resources for cancer education, research and practice in developing countries

Health Res Policy Syst. 2006 Jan 3;4:1. doi: 10.1186/1478-4505-4-1.


In developing countries, low levels of awareness, cost and organizational constraints on access to specialized care contribute to inadequate patient help-seeking behavior. As much as 95% of cancer patients in developing countries are diagnosed at late to end stage disease. Consequently, treatment outcome is dismally poor and a vicious cycle sets in, with public mystification of cancer and the admonishment of cancer medicine as a futile effort, all, to the further detriment of patient help-seeking behavior and treatment engagement. The situation spirals down, when the practice of cancer medicine is not gratifying to the medical practitioner and does not appeal as a medical specialty to those in training. The future of cancer medicine in developing countries thus hinges on the demystification of cancer through positive information, coupled to an effective organization that allows for the optimal use of available resources, facilitates access to specialized care and promotes the flow of knowledge and technology amongst various stakeholders. This paper strives to make a cogent argument and highlight the capital importance of information and communication technologies in organizing and leveraging scarce resources for cancer education, research and practice in developing countries.

Publication types

  • Editorial