At least 8.8 million people die of cancer annually due to late diagnosis, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
The deaths mostly occur in low and middle income countries, said WHO.
Through a press release, WHO said late diagnosis also happened in countries with strong health systems and services.
“Diagnosing cancer in late stages, and the inability to provide treatment, condemns many people to unnecessary suffering and early death,” said Dr Etienne Krug, director of the organisation’s department for the management of non-communicable diseases.
Dr Krug told health care planners to improve diagnosis of cancer and ensure prompt treatment, which he said would result in more people surviving and reduce the cost of treating it.
He called for improved public awareness on cancer symptoms and encouraging people to seek care, equipping of health facilities and ensuring access to safe and effective treatment.
It recommended that there be a reduction in the number of people paying for care in hospitals out of their pockets because it barred them from seeking help.