Global initiatives to enhance cancer care in areas of limited resources: what ASCO members are doing and how you can become involved
Medically Underserved Area
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. In 2008, 7.6 million deaths were attributable to cancer, representing 13% of all deaths. It is estimated that approximately 30% of cancer deaths are attributable to the five leading behavioral and dietary risks. These include high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, and tobacco and alcohol use. A number of viral infections, such as hepatitis B and C and HPV, are responsible for approximately 20% of cancer deaths. Approximately 70% of cancer deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. Because of the increased numbers of elderly individuals and improved control of comorbidity, deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue rising, with an estimated 13.1 million deaths in 2030. To meet this need, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has evolved into a truly international organization. Over one-third of ASCO members practice in over 100 countries, representing the world's largest collection of expertise and insight into the treatment of cancer. More than one-half of ASCO's Annual Meeting attendees come from outside the United States. The Journal of Clinical Oncology is read by more than 24,000 subscribers worldwide and is available in a number of different languages. To fulfill its mission, ASCO has a number of international programs for sharing knowledge and providing the tools to assist clinicians worldwide in treating their patients. These programs include mentoring and knowledge exchange, education initiatives, and scientific and educational meetings. This provides ample opportunity for involvement to enhance cancer care worldwide.