ESMO joins World Cancer Day to renew its commitment to cancer care in the COVID-19 era

On World Cancer Day 2021 (4 February), ESMO joins the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in thanking oncology professionals worldwide, who have worked these past 12 months through the COVID-19 pandemic, and renews its commitment to support them in these unprecedented times and beyond.

“I am grateful that the oncology community has managed to stay united despite limited opportunities for in-person contact and collaboration,” said ESMO President Solange Peters.

ESMO has stood and will continue to stand by its members, mobilising all its resources to evolve and respond to new, emerging needs, and flexibly adapting its services to continue supporting the oncology community during and through the crisis

Prof. Solange Peters, ESMO President

For the first time in its history, many of the Society’s meetings, including the ESMO Congress, could not be maintained in their usual form. Yet thanks to technological innovation, virtual event formats enabled oncologists to continue learning and keep up the pace of research.

Today on World Cancer Day, ESMO joins UICC in thanking oncology professionals worldwide, for their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We renew our commitment to support our members and the global oncology community in these unprecedented times and beyond, for the benefit of cancer patients" Solange Peters, ESMO President, on the occasion of World Cancer Day 2021.

A dedicated COVID-19 and cancer portal was made available on the ESMO website, where incoming data and best practices were made freely accessible. International collaborative projects, such as the ESMO-CoCARE Registry, were launched to quickly gather data and information on the impact of COVID-19 on cancer patients. ESMO recommendations were developed on cancer patient management during the COVID-19 pandemic and a Patient guide was published to help cancer patients better understand the impact of COVID-19 on their cancer care.

Recently, ESMO released 10 statements to address issues and concerns on the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines in patients with cancer, complemented by a series of webinars to provide a comprehensive overview on the topic.

Cary Adams, CEO of UICC, stated: “COVID-19 has impacted cancer control globally and the response by the cancer community has been extraordinary, heroic even. This year, more than ever, it is appropriate that we celebrate their achievements on World Cancer Day. Let us all aim in 2021 to refocus our collective efforts on the long-term challenges that cancer poses to every country in the world. We must prevent more, diagnose earlier and ensure that all people living with cancer have access to the quality treatment they need.”

“ESMO remains strongly committed to supporting its members and the global oncology community in the best way possible, for the benefit of cancer patients,” said Peters. “As the new year holds the possibility of a gradual end to this global health crisis, we need to reflect on the lessons learnt and look beyond it. Health must certainly be a priority for all of us, and prevention should be at its core. As healthcare workers, we need to lead by example, becoming role models for our patients and society at large.”

World Cancer Day 2021 campaign

Led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the 2021 World Cancer Day theme, “I Am and I Will”, encapsulates the strength of the cancer community. Stories captured throughout the past year are being showcased on a dedicated page of the official WCD website, highlighting that while the pandemic is threatening the progress being made in the fight against cancer, it has also created opportunities.

To mark the day, ESMO has developed a dedicate page on the ESMO website and rolled out a series of awareness activities on social media channels to highlight the importance of cancer prevention. By disseminating information on the topic and inviting ESMO leaders to make their resolutions to have a positive impact on cancer prevention, ESMO aims to show that every single action counts and contributes to make progress.

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