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ESMO's Response to WHO Consultation on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) Highlights the Crucial Importance of Cancer Prevention and Care

04 Jun 2024

ESMO responded to World Health Organization (WHO) consultation aimed at informing the Director-General’s report for the Fourth High-level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.

ESMO provided detailed feedback on several priority areas to strengthen cancer prevention and enhance equitable access to care for patients with cancer, including on:

Universal Health Coverage - highlighting that comprehensive cancer care services should be included in national health benefit packages and cover prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care, and that the services should be accessible without financial hardship to patients.

Workforce Optimization - emphasizing the need for a well-trained and adequately resourced oncology workforce, with focus on improved education, training, and retention strategies to ensure quality cancer care delivery.

Cancer Prevention - calling for stringent tobacco control measures, including plain packaging, comprehensive advertising bans, and the regulation of new tobacco products like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco; mandatory labeling of alcoholic beverages and increased public awareness campaigns about the cancer risks associated with alcohol; legislative action to align air quality standards with WHO recommendations, specifically targeting a reduction in fine particulate matter (PM2.5); and stressing the importance of robust gender-neutral HPV and HBV vaccination programs.

Clinical Trials - urging the development of global regulatory frameworks for clinical trials to ensure inclusiveness and diversity of patients, and public funding of independent clinical research.

The consultation process is a critical step in shaping global health policies to combat NCDs, and ESMO’s comprehensive response aims to catalyse urgent actions by WHO Member States and ensure that cancer prevention and control is prioritized in the global health agenda. ESMO will contribute to a follow-up consultation on the first draft of the report, which will take place in August 2024.

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