News Release

ESMO and ASCO call on governments to improve cancer services and reduce cancer deaths

United Nations Civil Society Hearing on non-communicable diseases (NCDs)

Peer-Reviewed Publication

European Society for Medical Oncology

Lugano, Switzerland, 5 July 2018 - The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) (1) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), (2) the world's two leading organisations for oncology professionals, today issued a joint statement (3) calling upon governments to renew political commitment to improve cancer services and reduce cancer deaths.

The statement was issued on the occasion of the United Nations Civil Society Hearing (4) on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (5) in New York.

"As cancer doctors we work hard every day to ensure that patients receive the best possible care," said Alexandru Eniu, Chair of the ESMO Global Policy Committee. (6) "We are progressively increasing our knowledge about cancer and how to treat it. We can even cure some cancers if we intervene early enough."

"However, in many countries access to even the most inexpensive essential cancer medicines and priority medical devices is lacking," warned Eniu. "We urgently need governments to work with us and ensure that we have enough oncology professionals, and the necessary resources, to apply our knowledge and save lives."

ESMO President, Josep Tabernero added, "Recent UN and WHO reports (7,8,9,10) note that unless countries significantly scale-up their actions and investments, they will not meet agreed targets to reduce deaths from non-communicable diseases. We are concerned that governments may find it easier to achieve their targets by reducing deaths from only some NCDs, leaving cancer patients behind. We believe there are cost-effective ways to improve cancer care and stand ready to assist countries in doing this by providing our expertise in cancer management to support implementation of the 2017 World Health Assembly Cancer Resolution."(11)

"We urge Member States to consider our joint call and amendments to strengthen the Political Declaration to be approved during the UN High-Level Meeting on 27 September (12) and thus change the future outlook for cancer patients worldwide," Tabernero concluded.



(1) ESMO:

(2) ASCO:

(3) ESMO-ASCO joint statement:

(4) United Nations Civil Society Hearing:

(5) Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, include cancers, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. For more information see: WHO key facts about Non-Communicable Diseases

(6) ESMO Global Policy Committee:

(7) United Nations Report by the Secretary General, Document A_72_662, 21 December 2017:

(8) World Health Assembly Report by the WHO Director General, Document WHA 71.2, 26 May 2018:

(9) WHO Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs Report, Time to Deliver, 1 June 2018:

(10) WHO Report Saving Lives, Spending Less, 21 May 2018:

(11) 2017 World Health Assembly Cancer Resolution:

(12) UN High-Level Meeting:

About the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO)

ESMO is the leading professional organisation for medical oncology. With 18,000 members representing oncology professionals from over 150 countries worldwide, ESMO is the society of reference for oncology education and information. We are committed to supporting our members to develop and advance in a fast-evolving professional environment. Visit

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