Organization Rallies Global Oncology Community to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Today, more than half of new cancer cases and over two-thirds of cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Underlying this burden of cancer is an unequal distribution of global resources, a lack of coordinated care for oncology patients, and a multitude of social, cultural, and economic factors that lead to late diagnosis and incomplete palliation in the developing world.
To combat the growing cancer burden, concerted action is needed from the global health and oncology communities. In her Presidential Address to the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Sandra Swain, MD, highlighted the “possibilities and promise in global health equity,” encouraging oncology leaders worldwide to join the effort to bridge the “access gap” in cancer care. The Global Oncology Initiative (GO; www.globalonc. org), an academic and grassroots volunteer organization based out of Boston, Massachusetts, seeks to do just that. GO connects local and global oncology communities and is developing programs aimed at alleviating worldwide cancer care disparities.
GO was founded in May 2012 by two hematology/ oncology fellows from the Dana-Farber/Partners Cancer Care program, with the initial objective of breaking down silos between members of the Harvard cancer community who were involved in global health efforts. Supported by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Center for Global Cancer Medicine and by member institutions of the Dana-Farber/ Harvard Cancer Center, GO launched a series of global oncology-focused seminars, the “GO talks,” in November 2012. The themed lectures have featured the work of several current leaders in global cancer care, including Drs Paul Farmer, Eric Krakauer, Julie Livingston, and Raul Ribeiro. Topics have ranged from palliative care, to pediatric oncology twinning programs, to an ethnographic analysis of the Botswana cancer culture. Since launching, the GO Talks have been attended by over 1000 people and viewed freely on GO’s website in more than 20 countries. The talks provide an educational platform and opportunity for networking within the community as evidenced by the rapid growth of GO efforts over the past year.
- Health Care