The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) have issued a joint statement calling on governments to improve cancer services and reduce cancer deaths.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 1.9 million cancer deaths each year, making cancer the second most important cause of death in Europe.
In the joint statement by the world’s two leading organisations for oncology professionals, it urges the government to renew political commitment to improving cancer care overall.
Ensuring there are enough oncology professionals
Commenting on the statement, Alexandru Eniu, chair of the ESMO Global Policy Committee, said: “As cancer doctors we work hard every day to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.
“We are progressively increasing our knowledge about cancer and how to treat it. We can even cure some cancers if we intervene early enough.
“However, in many countries access to even the most inexpensive essential cancer medicines and priority medical devices is lacking,” warned Eniu. “We urgently need governments to work with us and ensure that we have enough oncology professionals, and the necessary resources, to apply our knowledge and save lives.”
Leaving cancer patients behind
President of ESMO Josep Tabernero added: “Recent UN and WHO reports note that unless countries significantly scale-up their actions and investments, they will not meet agreed targets to reduce deaths from non-communicable diseases.
“We are concerned that governments may find it easier to achieve their targets by reducing deaths from only some NCDs, leaving cancer patients behind. We believe there are cost-effective ways to improve cancer care and stand ready to assist countries in doing this by providing our expertise in cancer management to support implementation of the 2017 World Health Assembly Cancer Resolution.”
He concluded: “We urge member states to consider our joint call and amendments to strengthen the political declaration to be approved during the UN High-Level Meeting on 27 September and thus change the future outlook for cancer patients worldwide.”