GENEVA, Jan. 31 (Reuters / EP) –
Cancer patients in developing countries are denied basic pain relief, often due to excessive fear of opiate abuse, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Thursday.
Two-thirds of industrialized countries have oral morphine, an opioid widely used to reduce severe pain, available in more than half of its pharmacies, against only 6% of poor countries, said Dr. Cherian Varghese, a WHO specialist
The UN agency is issuing new guidelines for health authorities around the world to deal with the pain that affects 55 percent of cancer patients receiving treatment and two thirds of patients with advanced or terminal cancer.
"No one, neither cancer patients nor cancer patients, should live or die of pain in the 21st century," Dr. Etienne Krug, director of the WHO noncommunicable diseases department, said in a speech. of the world … these drugs circulate very freely, there is a real and justified fear of it, but it should not be at the expense of those who live with pain or die of pain. "
An outbreak of opioid overdoses in the United States, caused in part by over-prescriptions, caused more than 49,000 deaths last year, fueling fears of dependency elsewhere.
The WHO guidelines prescribe strict safety measures for the administration of substances that cause dependence, such as morphine, but say that in its oral variety is "an essential treatment for moderate to severe cancer pain."
Every year, there are 18.1 million new cases of cancer in the world and one in six deaths, approximately 9.6 million, is due to the disease, the WHO says in a report for World Cancer Day on the 4th. of February.