have reported changes to their practice as a result of the
course, with 70% of respondents reporting changes in their In economically emerging countries
patient care, such as creating a local tumour board to discuss such as China and India, the amount
cancer cases with colleagues from other medical departments. of clinical cancer research as
A recent “Train the Trainer” add-on to the MCMC curriculum measured by numbers of trials,
aims to increase the quantity and quality of MCMC trainers numbers of patients enrolled in trials,
around the world by teaching a select group of trainers and research funding, has increased
concepts in adult learning and best practices in course dramatically over the past decade
International clinical trials workshop
In economically emerging countries such as China and India,
the amount of clinical cancer research as measured by
numbers of trials, numbers of patients enrolled in trials, and pharmacists, medical students, and social workers. In an
research funding, has increased dramatically over the past evaluation of the course’s presentation in Ghana, 91% of
decade. A 2007 ASCO member survey and discussions with attendees reported making specific clinical practice changes
ASCO society partners indicated that the level of research as a result of the workshop, with the most common changes
training provided to investigators in emerging countries has being improved communications with patients about palliative
not kept pace with the growth of research and corresponding care options and use of new pain assessment and pain
research capacity requirements. management methods.
To help address this need for clinical research skills and
standards, ASCO collaborates with national or regional Developing capacity at the hospital level
medical organizations around the world to hold a two-day In 2008, ASCO partnered with Health Volunteers Overseas
intensive workshop. The workshop includes topics such as: (HVO), an international medical education organization, to
roles and responsibilities of the research team; patient accrual create a programme to pair ASCO’s member oncologists with
strategies; ethical considerations; marketing clinical trials; and colleagues at medical centres in LMIC that serve as their
regulatory issues (the latter presented by national regulatory nations’ major cancer referral hospitals. The aim of the
authorities). Overall, the goal of the workshop is to deliver “International Cancer Corps” (ICC) is to exchange medical
best practices in clinical cancer research in a way that is expertise, develop training programmes, and build long-term,
relevant to the needs and interests of the local audience. supportive relationships between ASCO, these vital medical
institutions, and the clinicians who practice there.
Palliative care For the past two decades, HVO has worked to increase
Palliative care has been defined by ASCO as simply “the relief health care access in LMIC through clinical training and
of suffering, in all of its dimensions, throughout the course of a education programmes in child health, primary care, trauma
patient’s illness” . Yet, despite a growing cancer patient and rehabilitation, essential surgical care, oral health,
population whose cancers are often diagnosed at advanced infectious disease, nursing education, and burn management.
stages and for whom palliation could offer significant patient Active in more than 40 hospitals in 25 countries, HVO-
benefits, access to palliative care in LMIC remains very limited. affiliated medical volunteers train, mentor, and provide critical
For example, opioid use in LMIC constitutes only 6% of world professional support to health care providers.
consumption, according to the Global Access to Pain Relief ASCO and HVO select International Cancer Corps sites
Initiative . from among those hospitals where HVO has experience
ASCO’s Palliative Care Workshop seeks to educate health implementing programmes in other specialties and which
care professionals in palliative care and the integration of express a strong interest in oncologic development. Size of the
palliative care into cancer care. ASCO collaborates with cancer patient population, the nature of the overall need, and
international and in-country partner organizations to hold potential for ASCO impact are other considerations in the
these workshops. Faculty members consist of international selection.
and local experts that, together, create a programme that Once a site is selected, ASCO and HVO appoint an ASCO
teaches palliative care principles and skills, adapted to the member volunteer with prior experience in the country or
local environment. Attendees include doctors, nurses, region to conduct a two-week site assessment at the hospital.
148 CANCER CONTROL 2013