Apr 19, 2012
Perspectives from UICC President-Elect Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz
From August 27–30, 2012, people from around the globe will gather in Montreal, Canada, for the Union for International Cancer Control’s (UICC’s) World Cancer Congress (WCC). The Congress, held every two years, provides a forum for those involved in international cancer control to discuss solutions for reducing the impact of cancer oncommunities.
ASCO Connection recently spoke with 2012–2014 UICC President-Elect Mary K. Gospodarowicz, MD, FRCPC, FRCR (Hon), about the upcoming meeting and why ASCO members should attend.
|Mary K. Gospodarowicz, MD, FRCPC, FRCR (Hon)
Member since: 1979
Specialties: Clinical trials/biostatistics/epidemiology, genitourinary cancers, leukemias/lymphomas/myeloma/myelodysplastic syndrome
Institutions: Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Canada; Cancer Care Ontario, Ontario, Canada
ASCO activity: Member, International Affairs Committee (2005–2008); Member, International Cancer Corps (ICC)
AC: What are your overall hopes going into this meeting?
Dr. Gospodarowicz: We hope to attract a wide range of participants interested in global cancer control. The theme of the Congress is “Connecting for Global Impact.” The UICC membership includes organizations with one common factor—control of cancer—regardless of whether it is through research, prevention and treatment, program implementation, advocacy, funding, or a personal fight against cancer.
AC: How will this theme be integrated throughout the Congress?
Dr. Gospodarowicz: There are four tracks in the Congress. The first, Prevention and Early Detection, will bring attention to the issues of tobacco control, cervical cancer prevention, and cancer screening and early detection. We hope to connect the knowledge base with implementation realities, focusing not only on developed countries but also on the challenges and opportunities worldwide. The UICC Cancer Congress provides opportunities to share knowledge and expertise among a diverse range of professions and disciplines and across various geographic, cultural, and economic constituencies.
The second track is Cancer Care and Cancer Survivorship. The UICC Congress is not meant to copy other cancer congresses or meetings, such as those held by ASCO and the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO). Rather, it is meant to complement them, focusing on cancer control, program implementation, access to care, and quality of care—areas of focus now generally referred to together as “implementation science.”
The third theme, Palliation and Pain Control, is an extremely relevant topic worldwide. Despite the great progress made in palliation for cancer, most will agree that a lot remains to be done. This track will help us learn from each other and address the various issues, from clinical to political, facing this field.
The fourth theme, Systems in Cancer Control, is very unique for UICC. We hope to attract both policymakers and those who implement and deliver cancer programs in order to pursue what works in cancer control and identify where the investment of resources produces optimal results.
AC: Who should attend this meeting and what can they hope to learn?
Dr. Gospodarowicz: We hope that a wide range of cancer control professionals and volunteers will attend, including policymakers and patient advocates. It is very important to have a wide representation of practicing clinicians, surgeons, oncologists, nurses, and other frontline care providers to learn from each other and improve the outcomes in our local environments. A large slate of exciting plenary presentations by world thought leadersis available on the UICC website(uicc.org) and the Congress website(worldcancercongress.org).
AC: Why should ASCO members attend?
Dr. Gospodarowicz: It is very important for members of ASCO to participate and contribute to the rich discussions anticipated at the Congress. As evident from the popularity of the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP), ASCO members are interested in issues of access to care, quality of care, cost of treatment, cost efficacy of medical interventions, management of marginalized populations, provision of cancer care in remote areas, etc. All of these subjects are very relevant to the UICC Cancer Congress. In addition, there will be interesting sessions on advocacy, fundraising, and other important skills required to enhance cancer programs.
The meeting will present a great opportunity to mix with colleagues from all over the world and connect frontline practitioners with policymakers. Montreal is a wonderful city to visit and a wonderful venue for the Congress. The meeting gives great opportunity for personal interactions and discussions.
Related reading: "World Cancer Day: Why the Fourth of February?”By David Khayat, MD, PhDPieté-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France