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

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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 noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer. The two organizations issued a joint statement in advance of the third high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, which will take place on September 27, 2018, in New York City.

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 these goals 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:

  • Implement the 2017 World Health Assembly Cancer Resolution, which should serve as the reference document to improve cancer control.
  • 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.
  • Develop efficient and cost-effective primary prevention measures (eg, human papillomavirus vaccination, viral hepatitis infection vaccination, and Helicobacter pylori eradication).
  • Assure timely access to screening for premalignant lesions; early-stage diagnosis; and high-quality, affordable cancer treatment for all stages of cancer, including advanced/metastatic cancers.
  • 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.
  • Provide essential secondary health-care services that assure an adequate number of well-trained oncology professionals with sustainable access to the resources required to provide appropriate treatment and supportive and palliative care.
  • Commit to achieving the targets of reducing premature mortality by 25% by 2025, and by 33% by 2030, across all NCDs. ■

© 2018. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.