According to announcement at the Latin American Cooperative Oncology Group (LACOG) 2013 conference, cancer cases in Latin America region is increasing in an alarming rate.
The new study shows around 13 deaths for every 22 cancer cases in the region, compared to around 13 deaths for every 37 cases in the United States and around 13 deaths for every 30 cases in Europe. There are 163 cases of cancer per 100,000 people, compared to 300 in the Unites States.
The study was published in the British journal The Lancet Oncology.
There are far fewer cases of cancer in the region than in the US or Europe - However, the proportion who die is much higher.
The reason behind this disparity is due to late diagnosis, poor access to treatment, increase in life expectancies, rise in alcohol consumption, smoking and obesity.
The cancer rates are expected to rise more than 33 percent in the region by 2020.
"If corrective action is not taken this problem will become magnitudes of order bigger than it is today, it will create massive human suffering and it will threaten the economies of the region," Paul Goss, a professor at Harvard Medical School who led the research, mentioned at an event in Sao Paulo on Friday.
While fewer Latin Americans are diagnosed with cancer than residents of the United States, however once they have cancer they are almost twice as likely to die from the disease, the study said.
The main reason for this is that most patients look for treatment when they are at late stages of the cancer and are too late to get the treatment to survice.
On top of this, the cost of cancer treatment is very expenisve in Latin America.
"The region is poorly equipped to deal with the alarming rise in cancer incidence and disproportionately high mortality rates compared with other world regions, underscoring the magnitude of the cancer-control problem," Goss added.
The study suggests that Latin American nations should push for major changes to their healthcare policies, such as investing more funds to public health, broadening healthcare access so cancer patients can be treated faster and ealier. Also coming up with better national cancer plans are essential and urgent.
"We want to galvanize everybody to take action... Cancer is going to be the number one threat and we believe it is very wise to invest more and distribute the budget and resources equitably across all the populations of a country," said Dr. Gross in a press conference.