Mary Gospodarowicz: «We need a ‘can-do’ attitude to global cancer control»

“I absolutely hate the assumption that cancer is too complicated for us to act. In fact probably cancer care and control is much less complicated than running the infrastructure in Mumbai, or London or Manhattan.”

Mary Gospodarowicz is Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Toronto, and Medical Director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, called at the World Economic Forum for a new can-do approach to tackling cancer in developing countries.

“We need to simplify cancer – I think we need to give an impression that we know how to do it. There is a lot of knowledge we now have to apply. I think we shouldn’t be afraid to develop new models of care, to use modern technology, to do things differently and I also think we need to invest in the new generation of people.

Interviewed during the Forum in Lugano Mary Gospodoarowicz said there was growing evidence that investing in cancer control is good economic – generating steady employment, interesting jobs and healthier populations. “I absolutely love the discourse that investing in health care produces economic benefits. The product is healthier people and it actually improves the economy.”

Canada was one of the developed countries that had succeeded in closing the equity for cancer prevention and treatment gap. “There has been great progress in cancer control planning and cancer treatment and delivery but have things improved in low income countries? Probably not yet, except maybe for isolated examples of creating effective cancer institutes and improving access to very small proportions of population. There are examples that it can be done; that it is effective, but I am not sure that the improvements are on a scale that one can show globally.

“These positive bits of information and evidence should be very helpful in scaling up the effort on cancer control globally.”

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