On Monday we examined a recent march in Honduras aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of cancer. Today we continue our commemoration of World Cancer Day with a look at a Latin American country hit very hard by cancer.
A 2012 study from the World Health Organization, (WHO), found that Bolivia has the second-highest cancer death rate in Latin America and this has led to one of the world’s highest mortality rates.
Why such high rates? One reason is lack of proper health care since it is not affordable. Indeed, the WHO estimated that a whopping 90% of cancer deaths in Bolivia are among those in the lower economic classes.
The challenge of providing cancer treatment and raising awareness of the disease is seen every da by Dr. Beatriz Salas, one of the few child cancer doctors in Bolivia. As seen in the video below the page break, Dr. Salas provides care for her mostly impoverished patients including some who travel as far as hundreds of miles to Cochabamba. Treatment for these patients is difficult to come by due to their poverty as well as a lack of funds to the hospital. Yet Dr. Salas does not give up and she strives daily to help all of her patients:
Even though the odds are seemingly stacked against them some of Dr. Salas’ patients do pull through. Such is the case of Mariela, a girl whose right leg was amputated in 2010 as part of her cancer treatment. Yet according to a 2012 update on the Crazy Guy on a Bike website, Mariela was free of cancer and living a normal life with her family and friends.
Video Source – YouTube via user vogel5290
Online Sources – The Latin Americanist, Correo del Sur, Crazy Guy on a Bike