2017 WHO Cancer Resolution: Cancer prevention and control in the context of an integrated approach

  • Date: 08 Jun 2017

A landmark for cancer on the global health agenda and one of the most important documents on cancer of our time

During the 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva the WHO 2017 Cancer Resolution was unanimously adopted by WHO Member States from across all regions. ESMO as a non-State actor in official relations with the WHO voiced its support for the resolution during the WHA. The ESMO Statement highlighted the many resources ESMO can provide to both WHO and its Member States to help implement the Resolution.

Key Cancer Resolution points

The 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution represents an update to the 2005 WHO Cancer Resolution and provides countries with guidance on health promotion and risk factor reduction, but also the need to address inequity in access to early detection and appropriate treatment, including pain relief and palliative care addressing not only prevention, but also timely access to treatment and care. 

Therefore, by adopting the Cancer Resolution, countries commit to actions related to cancer control with the aim for countries to provide high-quality, resource-appropriate cancer prevention and control services for all.

The resolution compliments other WHO and UN documents calling for universal health coverage, and timely access to multidisciplinary treatment (medicines, vaccines, and medical devices) in order to achieve the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goal to reduce premature deaths from NCDs by 30% by 2030. 

Key WHO Cancer Resolution deliverables

  • Toolkits to evaluate national cancer prevention and control plans
  • Publication of a Global Report on Cancer
  • Optimisation of current workforce and anticipation of future requirements.

Key Country deliverables

  • Develop, fund, and implement comprehensive cancer prevention and control plans with focus on cost-effective interventions, equity and access
  • Reduce risk factors including enforcement of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  • Provide access to cancer services, including timely access to medicines, vaccines and medical devices
  • Strengthen health systems at the national and local levels
  • Promote accurate data reporting through population-based cancer registries, robust monitoring and evaluation systems for improved planning, quality assurance and implementation.

Next Steps

Countries now have the responsibility to put in place the requirements of the resolution. The WHO has a mandate to provide technical support to countries who specifically request assistance. The ESMO Statement highlighted the many resources ESMO can provide to both WHO and its Member States to help implement the Resolution. 

ESMO will be coordinating with its partner societies an action plan to assure that as an oncology community we are prepared to harness this exceptional opportunity to decrease inequalities in access to cancer care and to improve the outcomes of patients worldwide.

ESMO Resources

 Access the statement and Press Release