WHO approves Cancer Resolution, including ECPC recommendation
The 70th World Health Assembly has approved the resolution on 'Cancer prevention and control in the context of an integrated approach', and noted the WHO report on cancer prevention and control.
This resolution marks the first resolution dedicated to cancer by the WHO in over a decade, and provides a set of recommendations to control and prevent cancer. It complements the WHO's Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases 2013-2020. The WHO 2017 Cancer Resolution represents a firm commitment of all countries to keep cancer control as a world health priority.
The resolution, among other measures, calls the countries to develop national cancer control plans (OP1-4), to promote recommendations that support decision-making based on cost-effective use of cancer diagnostic and therapeutic services (OP1-12), to promote cancer survivor follow-up, early detection of patients' needs, and to facilitate psychosocial counselling and after-care for cancer patients and their families (OP1-16-18) – all topics for which ECPC strongly advocates. At the same time, the resolution calls to ensure timely access to medicines, with an emphasis on evidence-based outcomes – an approach strongly requested by the European Cancer Patient Coalition's advocacy efforts.
It also calls for the integration of cancer efforts with civil society in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (OP2-4), to collaborate with nongovernmental organisations in the development of effective and affordable new cancer medicines (OP2-5), and to develop a periodic world report on cancer with the collaboration of cancer survivors (OP2-7).
During the negotiations of the new resolution, the European Cancer Patient Coalition has been making great efforts to improve the text by recognizing the importance of patients' organisations in the design and provision of services for the prevention, control, treatment and care of cancer.
ECPC's President, Prof. Francesco De Lorenzo, advocated for the inclusion of the role of patient organisations in the resolution, and forwarded this recommendation to Dr. Margaret Chan, outgoing WHO Director-General, and to Ms. Heidi Botero-Hernandez, First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the UN in Geneva and Chair of the informal consultations for the cancer resolution. Thanks to these efforts, the following clause was added to the resolution:
The Seventieth World Health Assembly,
OP1 URGES Member States […],
(19) to continue fostering partnerships between government and civil society, building on the contribution of health-related nongovernmental organizations and patient organizations, to support, as appropriate, the provision of services for the prevention and control, treatment and care of cancer, including palliative care;
"We, at the European Cancer Patient Coalition, are pleased to see a renewed commitment to the prevention and control of cancer as expressed by this new resolution", said ECPC President, Prof. Francesco De Lorenzo. "We are deeply satisfied by the inclusion of our recommendation to recognise the role of patients' organisations, and we encourage every country to effectively involve patients in all aspects of cancer prevention and control".
As Prof. Francesco De Lorenzo declared, "ECPC will continue advocating for the involvement of patients, not only in decision-making processes, but also in the research and development of new treatments".