Filip Meheus representing International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) started the symposium by sharing a framework for investment in cancer prevention and control. As the global economic burden of cancer is growing and a list of “best buys” interventions for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is being established, he stressed the need for an investment on cancer. He also pointed out that the return on investment (ROI) for NCDs prevention and control can be high.
André Ilbawi from World Health Organization (WHO), who was also the chair for the session, presented the total health expenditure in high and lower-middle income countries and outlined the factors impacting the increasing costs of cancer. He further addressed the common challenges and potential solutions for the rising costs of cancer. While acknowledging the priority of maximising cancer screening coverage, he explained that the strategy which has the highest general impact on population outcomes is to increase the number of patients receiving cancer treatment.
The session was ended by Carmen Vallejo Auste from Cancer Warriors Foundation in the Philippines. She discussed how the civil society organisations (CSOs) can engage with the government in protecting patients’ access to cancer care and treatment. She also emphasised the importance of collaboration between the government and CSOs so that the resources are made available to patients and their families in efficient and equitable manners.
Article contributed by Yi Xian Foong