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Case for Cancer Policy

Why Cancer?

Cancer is one of the most complex, unpredictable, and challenging group of more than 100 diseases. It is racing towards becoming the number one cause of death, globally. In certain regions, it already is.1 Treatments are improving, the science is getting more precise, and policies more complicated. With artificial intelligence, digital technologies, precision medicine, and real-world data being applied to this area, cancer is and will increasingly be used as a pilot for creating public policies.

Yet even today, in most parts of the world, a cancer diagnosis is synonymous with fear of the unknown – for the patient, the family and carers, and their finances. And rightly so.

Coupled with the intricacy and nuanced nature of public policy at global, regional, and national levels, cancer policy is one of the most demanding and inspiring areas to work in.

However, working in this area comes with a lot of responsibility, as public policies tackling cancer, a molecularly challenging group of diseases, will set an example for the new era of diseases to come.

And we, at Global Cancer Strategies, thrive on challenges.

1. Dagenais GR, Leong DP, et al. Variations in common diseases, hospital admissions, and deaths in middle-aged adults in 21 countries from five continents (PURE): a prospective cohort study. The Lancet. 2020.

A Case for Getting Cancer Policy Right

Regionally, Europe is undoubtedly leading the way with Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, along with all its existing and upcoming policies in health and beyond. Globally, the United Nations (UN) and its specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) are paving the path through their significant work on cancer, including resolutions and repositories of data. Nationally, countries all over the world are developing or updating their national cancer plans. However, the translation of these policies from words to action is slower than the speed at which new cases are being diagnosed.

World Choropleth Map
(Please hover over the map to take a look at the global population/new cases/mortality of the various income groups)

High income

Lower middle income


Upper middle income

Low income

Source: World Bank Country and Lending Groups and GLOBOCAN 2020 (last accessed: 10 July, 2022)

Thus, understanding the disease (cancer), importance of policy , weight of data, significance of collaboration, is the only way we can use cancer as a pilot for health policy, health systems and the digital future of healthcare.

Thus, understanding the