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President's Satellite Symposium: Challenges and Opportunities in Global Cancer Care

W Ngwa1*, E Cazap2*, N R Datta3*, M Wahab4*, D Wilson5*, (1) Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, (2) Latin-American & Caribbean Society of Medical Oncology, Buenos Aires, ,AR, (3) Former Consultant, Kantonsspital Aarau, Aarau, ,CH, (4) International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, AT, (5) Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA


(Monday, 7/13/2020) 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM [Eastern Time (GMT-4)]

Room: Track 6

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. According to Globocan 2018 estimates, the cancer burden in the world has risen to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths per year. About half of the new cancer cases and more than half of the cancer deaths occurred in Asia. The proportion of cancer deaths are estimated to be higher in Asia and Africa compared with their incidences. Approximately 70% of deaths from cancer occur in low and middle income countries (LMIC). Although prevention has proven to be effective, there are many factors that contribute to the incidence of cancer and death from this disease. These include, but are not limited to, population ageing, late-stage presentation and inaccessible diagnosis, higher frequency of cancer types with poorer prognosis, behavioral and dietary factors, urbanization, the so called westernization of lifestyles, and lack of access to drugs and treatment.

It is estimated that more than 50% of cancer patients globally will need treatment using radiation therapy. There are many barriers to treatment that vary from one part of the world to another. For example, in Asia, to provide an optimum access to radiotherapy to all patients by 2030, one will require more than twice the number of teletherapy units compared to what is available today. This is indeed a challenging situation as apart from augmenting the radiotherapy infrastructure with limited resources, one also has to take into account the need of human resources in terms of radiation oncologists, medical physicists and radiotherapy technologists. In terms of treatment, other barriers such as bureaucratic hurdles, and the lack of access to information and inefficient administration, can lead to underuse of the available public resource and limited access for the most vulnerable groups, who depend on public healthcare coverage. This is seen world-wide, including Latin American and the Caribbean regions. Regarding access to treatment, patient organizations have a key role to play, by guiding the family in their search for resources available in public entities; informing patients of their rights and helping them assert these rights; making patients’ demands visible and accompanying patients and families in the process, and by preparing guidelines to facilitate basic standardized information that is in an accessible language and adapted to local culture and beliefs. These organizations can help patients avoid delays in receiving adequate treatments while maintaining, whenever possible, a minimum reserve to respond to urgent needs. With reference to the quality of care, mechanisms or systems that allow evaluating quality of care and its impact are lacking in many regions. It is essential to create public policies governing the assessment of quality of cancer care that are adapted to the particularities of healthcare systems in each country. It is equally important to mobilize resources in order to develop, study and assess these policies. The challenges in access are significant and needs attention, world-wide. For example, while some countries in Africa have limited access to cancer treatment, over 20% of the countries have no access to cancer treatment at all. By 2030, the mortality from cancer in Africa is expected to increase by 70%.

The presentations given in the President’s Satellite Symposium will discuss the challenges that the different regions of the world such as Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean regions, Africa are facing with respect to cancer care. Likely approaches such as public-private partnerships involving governments, large-scale mobilization of domestic and international resources and others that could be considered to mitigate some these challenges will also be discussed. Discussions will also focus on the role of radiation therapy in the treatment and management of cancer, access to technology and what can be done to increase global access. Opportunities for involvement by medical physicists in various initiatives will be presented.



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