February 20, 2007

First Lancet Medical Forum On Cancer Management To Be Held In Asia

The Lancet's first forum on cancer management will be held in Singapore in April (Suntec International Convention and Exhibition Centre, Singapore, April 21-22, 2007). Entitled Asia and cancer management in the 21st century and comprising a faculty of 43 speakers and other presenters representing 25 countries, it will draw together over 400 leading cancer experts, researchers, and policymakers from around the world, in a bid to tackle the growing cancer burden in Asia.

The Director of Medical Services from the Singapore Ministry of Health, Professor K Satku, says: "Singapore is pleased to host the Lancet Asia Medical Forum. This year, the forum focuses on cancer management, a subject which is very relevant to us. The prevention, early detection, and management of cancer is a key priority in our efforts to build a healthy population".

Asia is on the cusp of a cancer epidemic of unprecedented proportions. Projections suggest that the number of new cases of cancer in Asia will increase from 4•5 million in 2002 to 7•1 million by 2020 if existing prevention and management strategies remain unchanged. The rapid rate of economic development in some Asian countries, along with the accompanying industrialisation and urbanisation, are contributing to an ever-increasing risk of common cancers. People diagnosed with cancer in Asia are more likely to die from their disease than patients with cancer in Europe and the USA because of fewer cancer screening programmes, inadequate access to treatment, and less research.

Dr Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet, says: "Cancer is now one of the leading threats not only to an aging society in high-income countries, but also to middle-income nations that have to endure a double burden of disease. But while the burden of cancer is increasing, the science of cancer is now posing difficult questions for society, for example, regarding treatment, cost, and how we view the end of life. This conference may not answer every question, but we certainly hope to point to where solutions might arise".

The necessity for this meeting is clearly highlighted by the amount of support it is receiving from prominent organisations such as the Singapore Ministry of Health, the International Union Against Cancer (UICC), the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer, and many other non-governmental organisations and charities.

Dr Franco Cavalli, President of the UICC, comments: "Speakers from outside Asia tend to overlook the huge differences which exist not only in terms of causes of cancer, but also in terms of management between western countries and Asia. Conditions such as the structure of health-care systems are very different from one country to the other. It is therefore necessary to adapt the discussion to local situations."

The Lancet Asia Medical Forum will bring together doctors from Asia with their counterparts from Europe, USA, and Australia, to address these challenges in cancer care and to provide a unique opportunity for dialogue and discovery. The Forum will address the specific issues surrounding the provision, and future needs, of effective cancer care in Asia, focusing on the ten most prevalent cancers in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition, world opinion-leaders will discuss the causes of cancer in Asia, health-care systems, and the challenges of providing effective disease management with limited resources, along with views on state-of-the-art techniques in the areas of diagnostics, medical oncology, radiation therapy, and surgical oncology. An educational workshop on how to run clinical trials will also form part of the programme.

Dr David Collingridge, Editor of The Lancet Oncology, concludes: "Cancer management in Asia poses a number of unique challenges, and one of the most important at this time is ensuring effective and relevant health-care systems are put in place to manage the rapidly increasing numbers of cancer diagnosed in this part of the world. We hope this year's Forum in Singapore will help to further raise awareness and to galvanise action before the burden of disease becomes unmanageable".

For the full Forum programme please visit:

Journalists interested in attending the Forum will need to seek media accreditation. Please visit:

For the Forum website please visit:

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