The culture of oncology in Bolivia

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Published: 22 Nov 2013
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Dr Milton Soria - Ministry of Health and Sports, Bolivia

“We are entering the cancer control future,” Dr Milton Soria tells ecancertv, speaking about cancer screening and follow up at the 5th International Cancer Control Congress in Lima, Peru. He describes the culture of oncology in Bolivia.

5th International Cancer Control Congress

The culture of oncology in Bolivia

Dr Milton Soria - Ministry of Health and Sports, Bolivia

Bolivia has been implementing some new strategies in cancer prevention since even though we have quite a long history in cancer prevention and with a Pap strategy we haven’t been successful since we don’t have a programme or we don’t have a co-ordination to evaluate and do follow-up for cancer prevention particularly in cervical carcinoma. So we have an opportunistic screening programme so we have to move to a new strategy when implementing other strategies from via either HPV very soon but if we don’t have a programme I don’t think we will be very successful in that because we are entering now the cancer control culture. That means that we’re getting people more and more involved in that.

Could you talk to us about the cancer incidence in Bolivia?

As anybody can imagine from what I said previously, 60% of cancers are in women and maybe 51% is because of cervical carcinoma. We don’t expect that if we do actions based now, immediately, we can reduce dramatically cancers, cervical carcinoma incidence, but I don’t know how breast cancer will behave in the country since if we follow some other developing countries’ figures we may have an increase in breast cancer. But we’re not sure if we’re going to have breast cancer like in other populations.

What would be your message to the medical oncology community?

Yes, in Bolivia even though we don’t have as many oncologists as figures may well say we need, we also have to encourage them to provide more and more education to the people and tell them that they need to do some other actions in their life to prevent cancer. Even though 70% of our cancers we can prevent, the first cancer in the world that was prevented was, without even knowing genetics, and it was in this country. So just public measures can prevent more than cure.