ESMO: governments fail to address global pandemic of untreated cancer pain
01 October 2012
New data released during the 2012 Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) in Vienna, paints a shocking picture of unnecessary pain on a global scale. The landmark global survey reveals that hundreds of millions of cancer patients suffer needlessly because governments fail to make sure they have access to pain relieving drugs.
Professor Nathan Cherny, Chair of the ESMO Palliative Care Working Group and lead author of the report, said: “Unrelieved cancer pain is a cause of major worldwide suffering, not because we don’t have the tools necessary to relive pain, but because most patients don’t have access to the essential pain-relieving medication.”
The study data was gathered as part of an international collaborative project. The project took place between December 2010 and July 2012, with 156 reports submitted by experts in 76 countries and 19 Indian states. These reports represented 58% of countries and 83% of 5.7 billion of the people living in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin and Central America and the Caribbean.
Prof. Cherny commented: “In many, if not most, of the counties and states we have looked at, patients are stymied by regulatory barriers at multiple steps along this process, the end result being that hundreds of millions patients don’t have access to essential pain-relieving medications.”
The presentation of the data at ESMO 2012 is the beginning of an organised effort to address one of today’s major global health challenges. Prof. Cherny concluded saying that ESMO were: "determined to tackle this problem at every level."