Short Communication

Applying the syndemic framework to cancer research for effective cancer control in low- and middle-income countries

20 Apr 2023
Mariam Hassan, Zahid Ahmad Butt

The cancer burden is increasing rapidly globally, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), which already face a double burden of infectious diseases and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). LMICs also struggle with poor social determinants of health, leading to cancer health disparities, such as delayed diagnoses and increased death rates due to cancer. Contextually, relevant research needs to be prioritised in these regions to ensure feasible, evidence-based healthcare planning and delivery for cancer prevention and control. A syndemic framework has been used to study the disease clustering of infectious diseases and NCDs across varied social contexts to understand how diseases interact adversely and how the wider environmental context and other socioeconomic factors contribute to poor health outcomes within specific populations. We propose using this model to study the ‘syndemic of cancers’ in the disadvantaged population of LMICs and suggest ways for the clear operationalisation of the syndemic framework through multidisciplinary evidence-generation models for the delivery of integrated, socially conscious interventions for effective cancer control.

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