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CANCER CONTROL PLANNING

34 CANCER CONTROL 2014

there is an ideal platform for the Task Force to promote and

disseminate best practice on the cancer medicines

component of an NCCP, including the European Guide on

Quality Improvement in Comprehensive Cancer, a subproject within the nascent EU Joint Action 2014-2017. The

Task Force also plans to draw upon the powerful networks of

ASCO and the NCI, as well as regional oncology societies

around the world.

Working with partners

The initial input to the Task Force came through the triad of

ESMO, WHO and the UICC, but a wide range of institutional

partners are also making essential contributions through

expertise accumulated over decades of research, training and

advocacy. Part of what makes the Global Cancer Task Force

so valuable is its commitment to translating the skills and

knowledge of the medical oncology community into usable

tools for policy-makers. Thus, in addition to pursuing the

scientific and technical goals detailed in the previous section,

Task Force members will also encourage interfacing with

decision-makers in order to both understand policy needs

and to shore up support for cancer control as an integral pillar

of the social, health and development agenda.

True knowledge-brokering is not linear, but rather

depends on network approaches that take advantage of

what each focal point has to offer through multiple channels

and intermediaries. This approach entails considerable

complexities in maintaining fluid lines of communication, but

it also adds value by channeling all relevant participants'

activities towards a common, policy-oriented goal. The first

collective step is in defining what evidence needs to be

generated, that is, in defining the global cancer research

agenda in a way that takes into account current knowledge,

promising advances and diverse stakeholders' needs. The

Task Force, through local, national, regional and global

partners, is conceived to fill this gap, assembling patient

advocacy groups, cancer control champions, scientific

societies and policy organisms in WHO Member States. By

forming a broad coalition of cancer control advocates, the

precise coordinates of cancer policy goals can be mapped for

all parties.

The Task Force will also help translate the urgent need for

more and better cancer control into tools that decisionmakers

can use for political advocacy as well as policy

support. This includes the development of concise, evidencebased briefs that help translate

scientific language and

recommendations into a range of policy options, including the

advantages and disadvantages of alternative avenues of

action. The emphasis on HTA, cost-effective cancer

treatment regimes (as opposed to individual medicine lists),

and the development of national cancer control programmes

(always keeping in mind questions of equitable access to

cancer care) are all conceived to respond to policy challenges,

in a context in which cancer control is just one of many

challenges originating in the health system and the wider

social, political and economic context. International

organizations, such as WHO, the European Union and others,

will contribute by setting global recommendations that

may act as a guiding star for Member States, while local

partners, such as national medical oncology societies,

will be instrumental in refining and adapting these

recommendations to a country level.

Conclusion and call to action

The primary goal of the ESMO Global Cancer Task Force is to

make the case for better cancer screening and care within the

broader agenda of the WHO-led Global NCD Action Plan.

The Action Plan represents a formal acknowledgement of the

importance of non-communicable diseases on the global

health agenda, a fact which cancer control advocacy groups

should applaud unreservedly. Rooted in strong public health

principles that aim to promote long, healthy lives through the

control of behavioural health determinants, the WHO Plan is

also concerned with the patients suffering from chronic

diseases. As demographic, economic and social shifts

consolidate over the next decades, this population will

unfortunately grow, and their needs deserve high priority on

national and international health and political agendas.

Founded on the compiled knowledge of the leading

professional organizations in cancer control, the Global

Cancer Task Force has been created to provide best practice

reference on actions that will make a difference in reducing

cancer mortality and in increasing the quality of life of cancer

patients. Too often, scientists direct their efforts exclusively

to research, decision-makers to policy, and patient advocates

to awareness-raising. By harnessing the collective power of

all of these actors and catalyzing their energy towards a

common goal, we hope to achieve the kind of synergy that can

truly make a difference to cancer control, changing the way

patients see policy and policy-makers see science, and

creating a new foundation on which to build future advances

in medical oncology.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to express their gratitude to Gracemarie

Bricalli (ESMO International Affairs Manager) for her

indispensable help in the conception of the paper and in securing

its publication, to Alex Eniu (Chair ESMO Emerging Countries Task

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