Chronic diseases and health promotion

Cancer case studies

Story of Maria Saloniki

Maria Saloniki can hardly remember how many times she went to the local traditional healer, how many doctors she consulted between two hospitalizations, how many words she used to describe her pain. But one thing she clearly remembers is that each time she returned home without receiving adequate treatment and care.

Common misconception:

Chronic disease affects rich people


Chronic disease and poverty -
a vicious cycle

Story of Mariam John

Mariam John is 13 years old and already knows what she wants to be when she grows up - "a health minister can help others and wants everyone to be healthy," she says. "I have good grades, I know I can make it," she adds proudly. In February 2005, soon after her knee started to swell to the point that it became difficult to walk, Mariam was diagnosed with bone cancer.

Common misconception:

Chronic diseases, like cancer, affect mainly high income countries


80% of the estimated 35 million chronic disease deaths in 2005 occurred in low and middle income countries; an estimated 70% of all cancer deaths occurred in low and middle income countries in 2005

Story of Sridhar Reddy

Sridhar Reddy was on the telephone to his wife when the photographer entered his hospital room. "I'm sorry, it's rush hour, I'll be with you in a minute," he excused himself. Sridhar’s wife runs their restaurant while he’s undergoing chemotherapy treatment at the Chennai Cancer Institute.

Common misconception:

Chronic diseases cannot be prevented


80% of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of all cancer can be prevented through a healthy diet, physical activity and not smoking

More on cancer case studies

Press release

WHO leads global action to avert 8 million cancer-related deaths

Fact sheet

Facts about cancer, its causes, WHO stratedy for prevention and control of cancer

WHO cancer control program

National cancer control programs, prevention, screening and early detection, treatment, palliative care

More on chronic disease report

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