Cancer stigma, cancer pain

Writing a story on the tidal wave of cancer in low- and middle-income countries, I expect to hear heartbreaking anecdotes about the lack of funding and other resources. But I also keep hearing about two problems that have relatively little to do with money. One is the combination of fear and social stigma that keeps so many women around the world from fully participating in screening and diagnostic programs. The other is the lack of opiates for palliative care, leaving so many patients in the poorest countries to die in extreme pain. Even in these countries morphine is fairly cheap, but the regulations meant to prevent its illicit use also can keep it from its proper clinical role.

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