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ESMO Welcomes the Adoption of the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution

31 May 2017
Bioethical Principles and GCP

Lugano – ESMO, the leading European professional organisation for medical oncology, welcomes the adoption of the Resolution on Cancer prevention and control in the context of an integrated approach1 during the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA), May 22 to 31 in Geneva, Switzerland.

ESMO President, Fortunato Ciardiello said “ESMO welcomes the WHO resolution that aims to ensure access to safe, effective and affordable care for cancer patients. Sustainability of cancer care is one of the three main pillars of the ESMO 2020 Vision. As medical oncologists treating cancer patients, we strongly advocate for equal access to quality treatment. Our support to the stakeholders involved in this landmark WHO Resolution is a clear sign of ESMO’s pledge towards a world where cancer patients are taken care of by highly specialised professionals,” Ciardiello continued.

“The last WHO Cancer Resolution dates back to 20052. ESMO has been working with the WHO for many years to improve cancer care,” Ciardiello added. “It is crucial that with the number of new cancer cases rising, and over 14 million new cases being diagnosed worldwide every year2, there is a global and joint effort not only to prevent cancer, but also to ensure that those affected by the disease get optimal treatment and care, wherever they live, whatever their economic conditions are.”

The 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution calls for national cancer control plans, high quality cancer registries, increased cancer research, use of clinical practice guidelines, timely access to medicines, medical devices and palliative care, as well as a well-trained oncology workforce. “ESMO is active in all these areas and committed to providing quality information, resources and the best education for cancer professionals,” stated Ciardiello.

Alexandru Eniu, Chair of the ESMO Global Policy Committee, attended the World Health Assembly and hailed the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution as “encouraging integration of quality and affordable cancer treatment into national healthcare systems.”

“In an official ESMO statement at the WHA, we informed the WHO and its Member States that ESMO is ready and available to support them with many useful ESMO resources and tools3,” Eniu stated. With the economic impact of cancer increasing (the total annual economic cost of cancer in 2010 was estimated at approximately US$ 1.16 trillion4) and health systems struggling due to the soaring costs of new medicines, “it is vital to have national cancer plans that leverage existing tools and are effective in reducing cancer cases and deaths, and improving cancer patient care,” Eniu concluded.



  1. WHA draft resolution on cancer prevention and control, A70/A/CONF./9, 2017
  2. WHA resolution on cancer prevention and control, WHA58.22, 2005
  3. ESMO projects
  4. WHO cancer factsheet. February 2017

Notes to editors

The WHO Secretariat’s report presented to the 70th WHA (A70/32) can be found here

ESMO Statement at the 140th Session of the WHO Executive Board Meeting in Geneva

ESMO Statement to the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva (PDF)

Final text 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution (PDF)

An ESMO delegation attended the 70th World Health Assembly. As a non-state actor in official relations with the WHO, ESMO is invited to attend WHO Governing Bodies meetings and post position statements, making its views known prior to, and during, any agenda item.

Last update: 31 May 2017

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