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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cancer; World Oncology Forum: “Treat the treatable”

Press release 13 October 2014

Fifty global leaders in research and treatment of cancer will gather at the Second World Oncology Forum in Lugano, 24–25 October, to draw up policy recommendations for getting effective and affordable cancer care to everyone who needs it.

The Forum has been convened by the European School of Oncology, in collaboration with The Lancet, in response to the global cancer epidemic, which is hitting low- and middle-income countries particularly hard. It is backed entirely by independent, non-commercial sponsors.

Over the course of one and a half days, participants will hear from key players about a variety of initiatives from countries across the globe that have shown to be successful in recent years. These range from new business models that help speed discovery and development of affordable new treatments, to healthcare models that deliver the best possible outcomes for the money available – across prevention, early detection, treatment and follow up – together with new models of healthcare financing that can provide close to universal coverage on a sustainable basis.

The participants will assess how such initiatives can be adapted for use in other settings, including the world’s poorest and most under-served communities. The Forum will conclude with a consensus statement on key policies that are urgently needed to get a grip on the rising tide of suffering and death from cancer.

Franco Cavallia, chair of the Forum’s Scientific Committee, said: “In recent years governments across the world have belatedly been waking up to the reality of the rapid rise in cancer cases among their citizens, and the toll it is taking on the social and economic life of their countries. But in many of the worst hit countries, ill-founded assumptions not just at the level of governments, but also in association with international aid agencies, has skewed the policy response almost exclusively towards prevention. Even the richest countries are realising that providing the best quality cancer care for their citizens is becoming unsustainable, as more people need treatment for longer periods with therapies that offer incremental improvements at very high prices.

“This Forum, entitled ‘Treat the treatable’, is focused on the needs of all the men, women and children who have cancer, and need access to early detection, effective treatment and good follow-up care.

“It will highlight examples from countries such as Thailand, Mexico and India that show how, with the right policies, public healthcare systems can deliver very good quality screening and care for all citizens. It will look at what lessons can be learned not just by other middle-income countries, but also by low-income countries, e.g in sub-Saharan Africa, on the one hand, and by countries in the developed world on the other. And it will also look at the balance of public–private partnerships that can facilitate speedy and effective development of scientifically rational approaches to innovative treatments, to speed progress towards more effective and more affordable treatments.

“Governments and international policy bodies and aid agencies have the power to greatly reduce the personal, social and economic burden of cancer among their citizens by adopting policies that have been shown to work. The policy statement that will come out of this Forum will be based on experience and evidence, and will have the backing of 50 international leaders in cancer control. We will be calling on world leaders and everyone in a position to help make a difference to play their part.”

The policy statement will be published in The Lancet and Cancer World. The Lancet will also publish the presentations of the keynote speakers

ENDS

For further information and interview requests:

In English: Anna Wagstaff, ESO media team: +44 (0)1865 723450 or +44 (0)790-860 3790, annawag1@gmail.com
In Italian: Alexandra Zampetti, ESO WOF Secretariat: +41 (0) 91 820 0954, wof@eso.net

NOTES
a Franco Cavalli is the Scientific Director of the Oncology Institute of Southern Switzerland, and Chair of the Scientific Committee of the European School of Oncology

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