APLCC 2016 calls on governments to reduce lung cancer deaths by one-third by 2030

The biennial Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference (APLCC 2016) was successfully organized in Chiang Mai, Thailand (13-15 May 2016) by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), Thai Society of Clinical Oncology (TSCO), Chiang Mai Lung Cancer Group and Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University (CMU). 

More than 870 participants from 26 countries with a wide range of expertise spanning prevention, treatment, research, and care and support fields actively participated in this regional meeting.

Follow-up on promise to reduce NCD deaths by 1/3rd by 2030

This was the first APLCC organized after governments of U.N.-member nations (including those in the Asian-Pacific region) had adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the U.N. General Assembly in September 2015. One of these goals is to reduce premature mortality due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including lung cancer, by one-third by 2030.
Dr Sumitra Thongprasert, Chair of APLCC 2016

“Lung cancer and other NCD-related SDGs can only be met by Asian-Pacific governments if we prevent the disease effectively, efficiently screen for the earliest possible diagnosis, and treat with the latest evidence-based therapies – saving lives from lung cancer is not a choice, it is a public health imperative,” said Dr Sumitra Thongprasert, Chair of APLCC 2016, Emeritus Professor at Chiang Mai University, and Senior Director (Oncology), Bangkok Chiang Mai Hospital in Thailand.

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world. “Undoubtedly lung cancer is a significant cause of loss of quality of life and premature death. Despite scientific advancements in lung cancer management, outcomes remain poor with less than 5 percent five-year survival,” Dr. Thongprasert said.

Effective tobacco control can significantly help reduce lung cancer

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco smoking is the top risk factor for lung cancer, with 90 percent of cases attributed to tobacco use. The APLCC wants to push the message of the dangers of tobacco during the lead up to World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2016.

“Almost all countries in the Asian-Pacific region (barring Indonesia) have ratified the Global Tobacco Treaty (formally called the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control). Countries in the region must enforce the treaty and domestic tobacco control and health laws effectively, and not just for saving lives from lung cancer but also from a range of life-threatening diseases attributed to tobacco use. We also need to reduce exposure to other risk factors for lung cancer,” Dr. Thongprasert added.

Affordable healthcare for everyone must become reality

While committing to the 17 SDGs, governments also committed to making universal health coverage a reality by 2030. The SDG 3.8 commits governments to achieving universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all by 2030.

“Affordable healthcare must become a reality for everyone, especially for those most in need. Early lung cancer diagnosis, and standard investigations and therapy as per the latest guidelines and research, will then be able to make a phenomenal difference in the lives of all people,” Dr. Thongprasert concluded.

CNS (Citizen News Service)