An appeal to world leaders
The World Oncology Forum agreed a 10-point strategy that it believes is achievable and will significantly stem the rising tide of cancer. The aim is to contribute to the goal of cutting premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25% by 2025, as agreed by governments at the *World Health Assembly in May 2012, and to reduce the drain on the world economy by addressing one of the biggest causes of premature death and disability.
On World Cancer Day, Monday, 4 February 2013, an appeal will be published in The Lancet and leading national and international newspapers, for policy makers and everyone who can help stop unnecessary deaths from cancer to get behind this strategy.
A 10-point strategy to turn back the tide on cancer
Prevent preventable cancers:
1 Wage war on tobacco, by far the biggest cause of cancer death across the globe. Extend to all countries the anti-tobacco measures already found to be effective and tax the profits made from tobacco.
2 Give people the knowledge they need to understand which cancers threaten them most, and how to reduce their risk; develop and implement scientifically sound strategies, including vaccines, to protect against cancers caused by infections.
Treat treatable cancers:
3 Develop early detection programmes tailored to local needs and resources, which target cancers that are the most detectable and treatable and have the greatest social impact.
4 Ensure that every cancer patient has access to a package of diagnostics and curative and palliative care that has been shown to get the best possible results within the local setting and is delivered by trained health professionals.
Support all those who are living with cancer:
5 Give all patients access to optimal pain control by changing attitudes and removing bureaucratic, legal and logistical barriers to the medical use of morphine.
6 Involve patients as partners in decisions about their own care and give them a voice in decision making about policies that affect them.
Accelerate finding cures for cancers that are not yet curable:
7 Replace the current broken business model for developing new therapies with new and more efficient forms of public–private collaboration, geared to accelerating delivery of affordable therapies that are of real benefit to patients across the world.
To achieve all the above:
8 Educate policy makers and the public to counter the entrenched fatalistic myths and misconceptions that undermine efforts to mobilise forces against cancer and deter people who suspect they may have cancer from seeking early medical advice.
9 Promote and strengthen sustainable and universally accessible health systems that are supported by innovative financing mechanisms, and are driven by evidence about cost-effective ways to deliver the best results and not by vested economic interests.
10 Ensure that all countries have a clear cancer control strategy, that evolves in the light of needs and experience, and is built on creative ideas, backed by solid evidence, in order to turn back the tide on cancer.