London: Poorer countries could introduce measures to prevent and treat millions of cases of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and lung disease for a little as $1.20 per person per year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.In a study released on eve of the first United Nations high-level meeting on chronic, or non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the WHO said there are many cheap steps governments could take to stem a tide of expensive-to-treat, life-threatening diseases which could bankrupt health systems.Non-communicable diseases -- such as heart attacks and strokes, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease -- account for more than 63 percent of all deaths worldwide, killing 36 million people a year.The WHO predicts that the global NCD epidemic will accelerate in the next two decades so that by 2030 the number of deaths from these diseases could reach 52 million a year.NCDs are often thought of as diseases of the wealthy world, where fatty foods, sedentary lifestyles and high consumption of tobacco and alcohol have become part of normal life for many.But in recent decades such risk factors and illnesses have become far more prevalent in poorer nations, where access to doctors and medicines is limited, and knowledge on and commitment to prevention is patchy.
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