As physicians who take care of patients with cancer, all of us worldwide have the same goals of cancer prevention, early detection and screening, improvement in the quality of cancer care, and accelerating research and new therapies. The question is, how can we accomplish these goals in a world where resources are limited?
ASCO supported, either directly or with collaborating organizations, 55 educational events in 33 countries during 2014, which impacted over 12,000 clinicians who deliver cancer care. In 2015, ASCO is continuing the trend with expanded programs to deliver education, mentorship, grants and awards, and professional development to health care providers who care for patients with cancer globally.
Other ASCO initiatives that are improving oncology care and education worldwide include a new journal focusing on global oncology issues, the Journal of Global Oncology, which will publish its inaugural edition soon. This journal will focus on the needs of oncology professionals in low- and middle-income countries, where the priorities of care and the tools for treatment may be different than in high-resource countries. This resource will be more adaptive to health care environments that may differ by country. In addition, the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO sponsors a number of grants that are targeted toward ASCO’s international membership, including the International Innovation Grant, the International Development and Education Award (IDEA), and Long-term International Fellowship (LIFe).
All of these varied initiatives that ASCO sponsors continue to grow and provide valuable support for our oncology colleagues worldwide, based upon their individual needs. We will continue to expand our offerings and meet the ever-changing educational and service needs for our international oncology professional community. Since the majority of cancer diagnoses occur in countries with fewer resources, this is an important effort.
Every time I visit the oncology facilities in a different country, I am always amazed at how the oncology teams effectively utilize whatever resources they are given in the care of patients with cancer. I look forward to learning from the international oncology community about the issues they expect to face going into the next several decades, and to working together on ways to address the needs for oncology patients and providers.