Leading International Cancer Organizations Call on United Nations Members to Reduce Disease Burden

American Society of Clinical Oncology and European Society for Medical Oncology Issue Joint Statement in Advance of United Nations Meeting
For immediate release
July 5, 2018

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Aaron Tallent
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ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO), are calling on leaders and health ministers of the 193 United Nations (UN) member countries to reduce the burden of all non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer. The two organizations issued a joint statement today in advance of the third High-level Meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, taking place on September 27, 2018, in New York.

“Despite the progress we have made in treating cancer, millions of people still die prematurely from the disease because they do not have access to the necessary resources to receive high-quality care,” said Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FASCO, FSCT, Chief Medical Officer of ASCO. “This is simply unacceptable and we are calling on all countries to take the steps necessary to prevent or reduce this needless suffering.”

The UN first convened a High-level Meeting on this issue in 2011, only the second health-related High-level Meeting in the history of the UN, that resulted in a Political Declaration recognizing cancer and other NCDs as a global health priority. In addition, the UN member countries also made 22 political commitments and directed the World Health Organization (WHO) to set goals for preventing and controlling NCDs.

In the statement, ASCO and ESMO reiterate their support for the WHO’s goals of reducing premature mortality from cancer by 25% by 2025, and by 33% by 2030. To make them a reality, ASCO and ESMO are requesting a UN Political Declaration from the upcoming High-Level Meeting on NCDs stating that it is necessary for governments to:

  1. Implement the 2017 World Health Assembly Cancer Resolution which should serve as the reference document to improve cancer control.
  2. Develop and strengthen educational programs that provide cost-effective lifestyle recommendations to prevent tobacco use, reduce harmful use of alcohol, promote physical activity, and encourage healthy weight control.
  3. Develop efficient and cost-effective primary prevention measures (e.g. HPV vaccination, viral hepatitis infection vaccination, and Helicobacter pylori eradication).
  4. Assure timely access to screening for pre-malignant lesions, early-stage diagnosis, and high-quality, affordable cancer treatment for all stages of cancer including advanced/metastatic cancers.
  5. Strengthen health systems to achieve access for all and provide necessary cancer services to the millions of patients who die prematurely because they do not have access to cancer treatment.
  6. Provide essential secondary health care services that assure an adequate number of well-trained oncology professionals, who have sustainable access to the resources required to provide appropriate treatment, and supportive and palliative care.
  7. Commit to achieving the targets of reducing premature mortality by 25% by 2025, and by 33% by 2030, across all NCDs.                                                                                                                                                    

As the leading cancer organizations for oncology professionals, ESMO and ASCO contribute to global cancer control efforts by supporting their 50,000 members in more than 150 countries with the continuing medical education and training required to prevent and treat cancer. Learn more about ASCO’s global efforts.   

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About ASCO: 

Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) is committed to making a world of difference in cancer care. As the world’s leading organization of its kind, ASCO represents nearly 45,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of the highest-quality patient care, ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Learn more at www.ASCO.org, explore patient education resources at www.Cancer.Net, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.