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Closing the Cancer Divide

Closing the Cancer Divide

An Equity Imperative

Edited by Felicia Marie Knaul, Julie R. Gralow, Rifat Atun, and Afsan Bhadelia

ISBN 9780982914403

Publication date: 12/17/2012

Cancer has become a leading cause of death and disability and a serious yet unforeseen challenge to health systems in low- and middle-income countries. A protracted and polarized cancer transition is under way and fuels a concentration of preventable risk, illness, suffering, impoverishment from ill health, and death among poor populations. Closing this cancer divide is an equity imperative. The world faces a huge, unperceived cost of failure to take action that requires an immediate and large-scale global response.

Closing the Cancer Divide presents strategies for innovation in delivery, pricing, procurement, finance, knowledge-building, and leadership that can be scaled up by applying a diagonal approach to health system strengthening. The chapters provide evidence-based recommendations for developing programs, local and global policy-making, and prioritizing research. The cases and frameworks provide a guide for developing responses to the challenge of cancer and other chronic illnesses. The book summarizes results of the Global Task Force on Expanding Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries, a collaboration among leaders from the global health and cancer care communities worldwide, originally convened by Harvard University. It includes contributions from civil society, global and national policy-makers, patients and practitioners, and academics representing an array of fields.


  • Felicia Marie Knaul, Ph.D., is Director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Economist at the Mexican Health Foundation. She is also the founder of Cáncer de mama: Tómatelo a Pecho.
  • Julie R. Gralow, M.D., is Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Director of Breast Medical Oncology at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
  • Rifat Atun is Professor of International Health Management and Head of the Health Management Group at Imperial College London.
  • Afsan Bhadelia is a Research Associate at the Harvard Global Equity Initiative.
  • Harvey V. Fineberg is President of the Institute of Medicine, Washington, DC.
  • Amartya Sen is Lamont University Professor at Harvard University.

Book Details

  • 404 pages
  • 6 x 9 inches
  • Global Equity Initiative, Harvard University
  • Foreword by Harvey V. Fineberg and Amartya Sen