(HealthDay News) — An estimated 15.0 million patients will require first-course chemotherapy in 2040, with delivery requiring 100,000 cancer physicians, according to a study published online May 8 in The Lancet Oncology.

Brooke E. Wilson, from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and colleagues obtained data for the incidence of 29 types of cancer in 183 countries in 2018 and projections of incidence in 2040 from GLOBOCAN 2018. The number of new patients requiring first-course chemotherapy was generated for 2018 and 2040, and the corresponding cancer physician workforce required to deliver this chemotherapy was estimated.

The researchers estimate that the number of patients requiring first-course chemotherapy will increase annually between 2018 and 2040 from 9.8 to 15.0 million (relative increase, 53 percent). The estimated proportion of patients needing chemotherapy who reside in low- or middle-income countries was 63 percent in 2018 and will be 67 percent in 2040. In 2040, the most common indications for chemotherapy worldwide will be lung cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer, accounting for 16.4, 12.7, and 11.1 percent of cases eligible for chemotherapy, respectively. In 2018, an estimated 65,000 cancer physicians were required to deliver optimal chemotherapy; this number will increase to 100,000 by 2040.

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“Strategies are urgently needed to equip the global health force to enable safe treatment of current and future patients and ensure the basic human right of access to appropriate health care,” the authors write.

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