Bridging the Gap: Transforming Knowledge into Action
July 8-12, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Tuesday, 11 July 2006 - 2:20 PM 174-3
The Global perspective on cancer care in the future
Eduardo Cazap, MD, SLACOM, Avda. Cordoba 2415, Buenos Aires C1120AAG, Argentina
Global cancer control is becoming an increasingly important topic for world leaders and organizations. In 2002, 5.8 million new cancer cases were reported in the developing world, compared with 5.1 million in developed regions such as the United States, Europe, and Japan. Although the incidence of cancer is higher in the developing world, high-quality cancer care is most often inaccessible for patients with cancer who live in these regions. To further complicate the matter, the number of cancer cases in developing areas is expected to triple by the year 2050. This projected increase can be attributed to longer life expectancies and an increase in the number of smokers, as well as to migration from rural to urban areas. In addition, economic resources are adequate in developing countries but are generally very limited or badly distributed in the developing world. In May 2005, at the 58th World Health Organization (WHO) World Health Assembly, Ministers of Health from around the world passed a first-of-its-kind resolution on cancer prevention and control. WHA 58.22 calls for improved cancer prevention measures, improved early detection and treatment, and more palliative care in all Member State countries. WHO has also devised a cancer control strategy and published a Global Report on Cancer Control. The cancer control strategy is designed to translate cancer control knowledge into public health action. The report will provide evidence-based information about the most effective means of controlling cancer, and will serve as a guideline for those countries considering developing a national cancer plan. The International Union Against Cancer (UICC) is currently creating guidelines to assist developing countries as they establish and implement national cancer control plans. The guidelines will be introduced during the 2006 UUICC World Cancer Congress. But resolutions or guidelines are insufficient for obtaining positive results. As Dr. Franco Cavalli, UICC President elect stated, “The WHO resolution is just a starting point. The UICC is ready to take the lead, and looks forward to working in concerto with all non-government organizations worldwide to tackle this challenge.” Professional societies such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in the U.S. or the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Europe or the Latin-American and Caribbean Society of Medical Oncology (SLACOM ) in Latin America have an opportunity to contribute by educating oncologists and other health care professionals in developing countries about standards of treatment, as well as by training leaders in the international cancer community in the skills necessary to shape health care policy. With such training, leaders in developing countries will be well positioned to develop strategies targeted toward the needs of their particular countries and can determine how to integrate new research findings into the existing infrastructure. Also the non –governmental organizations such as the American cancer Society (ACS) should play a critical role in the development and progress of NGOs outside the U.S. as a part of a global strategy. One of the most difficult issues is to convince governments about the critical necessity of a worldwide compromise in the fight against cancer. In this matter the promotion of National Cancer Plans and National or Regional Cancer Registries in every country of the planet is mandatory. The challenge for the future is to make cancer prevention, education, treatment and rehabilitation available as equally as possible for the world population, regardless country or region of the world. We must clearly understand that, besides the new knowledge or technology is imperative to make the knowledge nowadays available accessible to the majority of the inhabitants of our world. The global burden of cancer must be dealt with carefully and strategically. However, through the collaboration of international cancer organizations, policymakers, community-based organizations, and patient advocacy groups, the solution is not as distant.