Lung cancer in Latin America: Time to stop looking away

September 17, 2018

Latin America

September 17, 2018

Latin America
Martin Koehring

Senior Manager for Sustainability, Climate Change and Natural Resources & Head of the World Ocean Initiative

Martin Koehring is senior manager for sustainability, climate change and natural resources at (part of The Economist Group). He leads Economist Impact's sustainability-related policy and thought leadership projects in the EMEA region. He is also the head of the, inspiring bold thinking, new partnerships and the most effective action to build a sustainable ocean economy.

He is a member of the Advisory Committee for the UN Environment Programme’s Global Environment Outlook for Business and is a faculty member in the Food & Sustainability Certificate Program provided by the European Institute for Innovation and Sustainability.

His previous roles at The Economist Group, where he has been since 2011, include managing editor, global health lead and Europe editor at The Economist Intelligence Unit.

He earned a bachelor of economic and social studies in international relations from Aberystwyth University and a master’s degree in diplomacy and international relations from the College of Europe.


This study examines the burden of lung cancer in Latin America and how well countries in the region are addressing the challenge. Its particular focus is on 12 countries in Central and South America, chosen for various factors including size and level of economic development: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

The study looks in detail at the disease burden as well as the economic and social burden of lung cancer in the region. The Economist Intelligence Unit developed a model to provide insight into the economic impact of lung cancer in the 12 study countries in Latin America.

We also introduce a major tool for stakeholders seeking to understand the policy response to lung cancer: the Latin America Lung Cancer Traffic Lights. The traffic-light system assesses national policy approaches, and to some extent outcomes, in Latin America. The Economist Intelligence Unit performed a rapid literature review to identify key issues around lung cancer in Latin America. We then held an advisory board meeting with regional experts in order to determine on which key categories, called domains, to focus. Following the advisory board’s recommendations, we split the domains into three Priority Traffic Lights (those without which other progress would be impossible) and five Important Traffic Lights, which, while still crucial for successfully addressing the lung cancer challenge, were deemed less central than the Priority Traffic Lights. 

El cáncer de pulmón en América Latina: Es tiempo de dejar de mirar hacia otro lado es un informe elaborado por The Economist Intelligence Unit, patrocinado por Roche, que estudia la carga del cáncer de pulmón en América Latina y qué tan eficaz es la respuesta de los países de la región ante este problema. El informe se centra en 12 países de América Central y América del Sur, escogidos por diversos factores, entre ellos el tamaño y el nivel de desarrollo económico: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, México, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú y Uruguay. 

The three Priority Lights are as follows: tobacco control, access, and early diagnosis. The Important Lights include the following five domains: treatment, non-curative services, non-tobacco prevention, information and advocacy, and data quality. The purpose of the traffic-light system is not to rank countries or single out countries performing less well. Rather, it will serve as the starting point for further discussion on policy progress and gaps that will be further explored in the white paper.

Click the 'Download Full Report' button to download a version of the report in English. The white paper (in Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese), a video infographic summarising the key findings (with English and Latin American Spanish voiceovers) and the Excel workbooks with the results and data for both the economic model and the policy traffic lights are available below. 

Download the report in Spanish below & Portuguese below. 


Download the workbooks below with the full results and data for the Latin America Lung Cancer Traffic Lights and the workbook containing the results and data for the economic model.



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