Also this year ESMO is proud to actively support World Cancer Day (WCD) by joining the new campaign #CloseTheCareGap.
The reality today is that who you are and where you live could mean the difference between life and death. It isn’t fair. But we can change this.
ESMO is painfully aware that the care gap is a reality that affects cancer patients all over the world, resulting in inequities in treatment, diagnosis, outcome and support. The Society is committed to raising awareness of the equity gap as well as to equipping oncologists with skills, knowledge and tools to address inequalities and reduce the global impact of cancer.
Through research and collaboration, it is possible to collectively reimagine the care system – but we first need to understand where inequities lie and, step by step, address all the obstacles and prejudice that can cause the care gap.
What does an equitable care world look like? ESMO’s contribution to understand and overcome the barriers standing in the way of cancer care
No matter who one is or where one lives, everyone deserves access to accurate information on cancer and quality care services in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and support.
While it is more blatant in low- and middle- income countries, the care gap affects everyone - no matter where someone lives or the person’s background. Barriers such as income, education, geographical location and discrimination based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and lifestyle are just some examples of what could prevent the access to quality cancer care and make more difficult to close the care gap.
Here you can find some examples of how ESMO has been working to raising awareness of inequalities in cancer care, thus contributing to #CloseTheCareGap.
To help realise and understand the extent of medicine shortages, ESMO conducted European and international studies on the availability and accessibility of anti-neoplastic medicines, the results of which showed that internationally there is a growing disparity between licensed anti-cancer medicines and those that are actually available. ESMO works to ensure access to, and the availability of, medicines so that cancer patients receive the best possible treatment available. In addition, ESMO has created the ESMO-MCBS, a tool that facilitates improved decision-making regarding the value of anti-cancer therapies, promotes accessibility and reduces inequity of access to high-value cancer treatments.
To ensure the definition of standards in guiding the training of medical oncologists worldwide and to guarantee that all patients have an equal chance of receiving treatment from well-trained physicians, ESMO, in collaboration with ASCO, has established the ESMO / ASCO Global Curriculum. The Curriculum includes a set of common guidelines with a global perspective for the clinical training required for physicians to qualify as medical oncologists.
One size doesn’t fit all, and cancer care challenges around the globe need tailored solutions; the Pan-Asian Guidelines Adaptation (PAGA) project aims to adapt the ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines by integrating Asian ethnic, scientific, socioeconomic, and local practice characteristics, providing oncology professionals with reliable information tailored to their context to support them in answering to the specific needs of their patients.
Biological sex and gender identity impact health, disease and medicine with implications for prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Through the work of the ESMO Gender Medicine Task Force, ESMO wants to develop new focused educational resources and materials to help oncologists understand sex and gender differences in the biology and the impact on the treatment outcomes of non-sex related cancers, bringing the best possible care to cancer patients.
To #CloseTheCareGap means that no one is left behind. As part of ESMO’s commitment to increase competency of the oncology workforce when providing cancer care to the LGBTQ population, the ESMO/SIOPE Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) Working Group has conduct a survey exploring oncologists’ attitudes and knowledge about LGBTQ people with cancer. In addition, the OncologyPRO Working Group (OPWG) has launched the e-learning module "Oncological Considerations for the LGBTQ Patient” to elaborate cancer risk factors and emphasise specific considerations in terms of cancer screening, treatment and possible side-effects in LGBTQ populations.
Cancer can develop at any age, but the risk and needs differ at each stage of a patient’s life. For this reason, ESMO is committed to investigate and raise awareness of and promote education about the unmet needs of specific patient populations, such as the
- Adolescents and young adults, who have specific and unmet needs, including complex psychological and social supportive care, through the work of the ESMO/SIOPE Adolescents and Young Adults (AYA) Working Group
- Elderly, who are at a dramatically higher risk of developing cancer, through the work of the ESMO/SIOG Cancer in the Elderly Working Group
Burnout is a significant concern for the oncology community and there is growing concern that inadequate work/life balance and work-related stress can have detrimental effects on wellbeing, job satisfaction and potentially impact the quality of care to cancer patients The ESMO Resilience Task Force aims to understand risk factors of an inadequate work/life balance, and to develop solutions to help support the welfare of the oncology community.