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Dear Colleagues and Friends,

A glance at the news or a review of our own workloads is enough to convince us that we are living in challenging times. A look at the growing social and economic burden of cancer coupled with the latest global population growth forecasts is only likely to reinforce that perspective.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the total annual economic cost of cancer was estimated to be approximately US$ 1.16 trillion in 2010, while today more than 14 million new cases of cancer are being diagnosed every single year. When these figures are set against the latest UN projections that the world’s population will rise from 7.6 billion today to 8.6 billion by 2020, the scale of the challenge confronting us becomes abundantly clear. 

Such rapid population growth will require every industry and sector to continually adapt. National health systems, which are already struggling to cope, will need to find new ways of managing both increasing demand and the soaring costs of new medicines.  

Sustainability of cancer care is one of the three main pillars of the ESMO 2020 Vision and as medical oncologists treating cancer patients every day, we are strong and passionate advocates for equal access to quality treatment. 

ESMO 2020

2017 WHO Cancer Resolution: one of the most important documents on cancer of our time

We were therefore delighted to have played our part in bringing about the 
2017 WHO Cancer Resolution, which was adopted unanimously by the 194 Member States during the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva at the end of May.

Many ESMO initiatives have provided support to the WHO, as well as raising awareness about the current situation in oncology and the need for a Cancer Resolution. ESMO’s ‘official relations status’ with the WHO has allowed us to attend WHO meetings and to deliver official statements, making our voice heard. ESMO is very proud to have supported the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution, which places cancer at the heart of the global health agenda, not just today, but for many years to come. Without any exaggeration, it is one of the most important documents on cancer of our time.

The Resolution will encourage the integration of quality and affordable cancer treatment into national healthcare systems around the world, creating a global effort to help prevent cancer and ensure that everyone affected by the disease receives optimal treatment and care, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. In essence, it urges countries to address all issues along the entire continuum of cancer prevention and control in their national cancer control plans.

Of course, it is now that the hard work must begin to ensure that every country who voted to adopt the Resolution takes the necessary steps to transform the way in which cancer patients access and benefit from the best possible treatments and care – and here again ESMO will have an important role to play.

Top priorities: shortages & access to cancer medicines

During the World Health Assembly, we highlighted the many ESMO tools and resources available to the WHO and its Member States that can help and support their work, including, among others, the ESMO/ASCO Global curriculum in Medical Oncology, the ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines and the ESMO Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale.

Data from initiatives such as the ESMO European and International Consortium Studies on the availability, out-of-pocket costs and accessibility of anti-neoplastic medicines can also help national institutions in their decision-making, as can the recent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit, supported by ESMO, which investigates shortages of inexpensive yet essential cancer medicines in Europe.
EIU-ESMO shortages report

Launched at an event co-hosted by MEPs at the European Parliament in May, the report makes six important policy recommendations to address the cancer medicines shortages that exist across Europe, including the introduction of legislation requiring manufacturers to provide early notification of shortages and the reasons for them. The report also recommends the establishment of strategic plans at a national level to address medicine shortages, which should be underpinned by legislation. The report also proposes that all European countries should develop national essential medicines lists, alongside systems for reporting shortages at a national level, supported by oversight at a European level. 

Annals of Oncology: IF of 11.855, in top 10 oncology Journals

ESMO’s highly respected publication Annals of Oncology will also be an invaluable resource for decision-makers and individual oncologists alike, as they implement national cancer plans and adopt best practice in the years ahead. 

The publication has itself been growing in influence in recent times and last month achieved an Impact Factor of 11.855 according to the latest Journal Citation Reports.
Annals of Oncology

This remarkable achievement, which ranks Annals of Oncology tenth in the field and in the top 5% of oncology titles, cements the publication’s position as a global leader and the journal of choice for ground-breaking work in oncology. I would like to thank Editor in Chief, Jean-Charles Soria, the editorial board and all authors for their hard work and dedication. 

Over the past few years ESMO has grown in every way possible, in terms of the number and diversity of our members, the practice-changing research published at our congresses, the quality of our educational resources and publications and the breadth of our public policy activities, which all contribute to the overall impact we are able to make on behalf of cancer patients worldwide. With so many challenges to meet and opportunities to realise, it is essential that we look to the future to ensure we have not only the right resources, but also the right people in place, to take our Society forward.

Solange Peters: ESMO President 2020-2021

I am therefore delighted to announce that Solange Peters has been elected ESMO President for 2020-2021 and will take the reins of our Society following Josep Tabernero's Presidency (2018-2019). Prof Peters has already made a significant contribution to ESMO over many years as a member of the Executive Board, Chair of the Women for Oncology Committee and Chair of the Press & Media Affairs Committee, along with other responsibilities. I hope you will join me in wishing her the very best for her Presidency.  

Solange Peters: ESMO President 2020-2021
I would also like to thank our other presidential candidate, Christoph Zielinski. I am sure he will continue to bring his enthusiasm and professional attitude to all the key ESMO projects under his wing, including among others, Editor in Chief of ESMO Open – Cancer Horizons, ESMO’s open-access, online journal, which continues to experience incredible success, including recent indexing in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (pdf).

Together with so many talented and committee colleagues, I know that ESMO will continue to thrive and be able to make a difference in cancer care.

Fortunato Ciardiello

ESMO President 
On behalf of the ESMO Executive Board