Improving the Quality of Cancer Care

The chances of surviving cancer are increasingly tied to where one lives. Over the last several decades, high-income countries have improved survival through access to innovative medicine, while lower-income countries have faced care barriers and financial hardships.

Now the American Society of Clinical Oncology  and the World Health Organization have joined forces to address this gap. The organizations aim to develop and promote cancer care innovations that enhance health outcomes and improve care for cancer patients across the globe.

But bridging the cancer care gap is no small task. Data shows that comprehensive cancer treatment is available in more than 90% of higher-income countries but found in fewer than 15% of low-income countries. Meanwhile, cancer in low- and middle-income countries is projected to double, increasing from 12 million to 20 million cases per year by about 2040.

A Coordinated Approach

The American Society of Clinical Oncology and the World Health Organization plan to a coordinated approach to the challenge.  Together, they will assist WHO member states by linking national strategies with quality improvement initiatives at cancer facilities.

Several initial programs will kick off the new partnership:

  1. Developing evidence-based quality indicators. These indicators will be used to assess the quality of an individual facility’s level of care at both in-patient and out-patient cancer care facilities. Quality assessment will focus on breast cancer and palliative care.
  2. Scaling best practices. Scaling global best practices can help advance innovation in improving the quality of care. Key insights will be collected and synthesized from the various stakeholders within both the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the World Health Organization. They will then be compiled and published as case studies and reports for wider use.

This new partnership will rely on continued global innovation in cancer treatment. It will also require the engagement of stakeholders, including care providers, researchers, patients and governmental authorities.

Alongside these stakeholders, the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the World Health Organization can make bold steps towards extending high-quality cancer care to more patients across the globe.