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The development of global cancer

networks in a time of pandemic,

decolonization and climate Change

Mark Lodge, Executive Director INCTR UK, Convenor London Global Cancer Week (LGCW) Oxford UK; Kim

Diprose, Independent consultant, UK Global Cancer Network; Richard Cowan, Consultant in Clinical Oncology, The

Christie School of Oncology, Manchester UK; Susannah Stanway, Medical Oncologist, London Global Cancer Week

(LGCW) Steering Committee UK; Danielle Rodin, Director, Global Cancer Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre,

Toronto Canada; Rebecca Morton Doherty, Director, Policy and Global Impact, City Cancer Challenge Switzerland

and Annie Young, Emerita Professor of Nursing, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, UK


ancer is a leading cause of death worldwide with

the majority of cancer deaths occurring in low- and

middle-income countries (LMICs) (1). In response, the

academic discipline of "Global Oncology" has developed as an

area of practice, research, education and advocacy that aims to

improve outcomes and achieve health equity across the cancer

continuum, with a special emphasis on underserved populations

around the world. In parallel, global cancer networks addressing

the shared problem of cancer across countries are forming

independently as a social phenomenon involving people and

relationships with the ability to capitalise on the strengths of

their relationships and to make a difference to the lives of people

with cancer worldwide along the continuum of cancer care.

Global networks are shaped by their social context. The

current situation represents a triple jeopardy with the

increasing burden of cancer on top of the COVID-19 pandemic

and the local effect of global climate change impacting the

health and livelihoods of vulnerable communities. This paper

describes three different approaches in the development

of global cancer networks that have a shared aim of building

capacity in cancer control and addressing global inequities.

UK Global Cancer Network

The UK has embarked upon a two pillar approach. Building on the foundations of the pioneering annual one-day meetings

on global health and cancer organised by the Royal Society

of Medicine's Oncology Section 2016-2019, an extended

week-long event - London Global Cancer Week (LGCW) -has

been established providing an international platform for wide

ranging and influential discussions around global oncology and

the challenges presented by rising cancer incidence in LMIC

(2). Despite the interruption from the COVID-19 pandemic,

the development of LGCW as a first supporting pillar for UK

global cancer activity has been rapid. Evolving from seven

events in 2019, through 22 events in 2020 with an attendance

of more than 2,000 people from 97 countries, to 39 planned

events in 2021 with 101 speakers from 47 countries. Aspiring

to be more than a conventional peer-to-peer conference,

LGCW is outcome focused and encourages its event hosts to

think strategically how their participation can not only further

their own missions but also help create new opportunities and

spaces in global cancer.

One successful outcome has been the setting up of the UK

Global Cancer Network (UKGCN) (3), providing the second

pillar of the UK approach. Launched on the first day of the

second LGCW on 15 November 2020 as an independent notfor-profit network

of UK-based individuals and institutions

already working in partnership with colleagues in LMICs,

Independent of governments and major institutions,

grassroots Global Cancer Networks are leveraging their

international relationships to make a difference to the lives

of people with cancer worldwide along the continuum of

cancer care. This article describes three examples of how

different types of Networks are addressing the shared

problem of cancer across low- and middle-income countries

and the challenges they face in this time of pandemic,

decolonization and climate change.







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