Are We Winning the War on Cancer?

Five years ago, as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations, ESO invited Europe’s media to Rome to participate in an event called “Cancer: A Reality Check”. At a time when excitement over advances in our understanding of cancer was giving way to disappointment over how little patients were seeing the benefits, this unique event gave journalists the opportunity to question leading researchers, policy makers and industry leaders about what needed to be done to deliver progress faster. The agenda was heavily influenced by a feature article in Fortune magazine by Clifton Leaf, titled “Why we are losing the war on cancer and how to win it,” and by responses from eight European specialists published in Cancer World under the title “It’s not a war… and we are not losing”. Some of the questions posed five years ago have now been answered, but new ones have been raised in their place. On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, ESO will therefore revisit this theme. It will bring together a highly selected group of clinicians, researchers, advocates, politicians, industry leaders and journalists at a World Oncology Forum® to re-evaluate how well the war is going: are we on the right track, or heading for defeat?

The World Oncology Forum® aims to help focus global efforts against cancer by:

Benchmarking to what degree we are winning the war on cancer today;
Exploring the many diverse factors that can contribute to or impede better outcomes for cancer patients
Identifying what can be done over the next decade to improve cancer outcomes.

The Forum will look at successes and challenges in finding scientific and medical solutions to curing, controlling and preventing cancer. It will also look at what needs to happen on political, social, economic and behavioural levels to ensure that populations across the world can benefit from this scientific progress.
+ show speakers and program
26th October 2012

9:00 Opening
Welcome by Franco Cavalli, Chair, ESO Scientific Committee, Switzerland
Opening address by Umberto Veronesi, ESO Founder, Italy


Mapping the global cancer burden: who’s most at risk from cancer and why?
Session leader: John Ioannidis Professor of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine and Director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center, USA
Presenter: Paolo Vineis, Chair in Environmental Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Imperial College, London, UK
Devil’s advocate: Clifton Leaf, Executive Editor, SmartMoney Magazine (The Wall Street Journal), USA

11:00 Coffee


Outwitting cancer: the big questions that remain unanswered
Session leader: Julio Celis, Institute of Cancer Biology Danish Cancer Society, Denmark
Presenter: Douglas Hanahan, Director, Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), Lausanne, Switzerland
Devil’s advocate: Rabiya Tuma, USA

13:00 Lunch


Survival trends: a worldwide look at who’s winning and who’s losing
Session leader: by Lex Eggermont, General Director of the Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France
Presenter: Michel Coleman, Professor of Epidemiology and Vital Statistics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
Devil’s advocate: Ulrich Bahnsen, Science Correspondence, Die Zeit, Germany

16:00 Coffee

16:30 Changing cancer mortality
Moderator: Franco Cavalli
Presenter: Richard Peto, Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, University of Oxford, UK

17:30 General discussion
Moderator: Franco Cavalli

18:30 Close of day 1

27th October 2012

9:00 What can we learn from the fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria
Moderator: Mary Gospodarowicz, Professor & Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, Canada and President, International Union for Cancer Control
Speaker: Rifat Atun, Director, Strategy, Performance & Evaluation Cluster, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Geneva, Switzerland

10:00 Coffee break

10:30 Are we winning the war on cancer?
Securing consensus on the WOF Statement
Moderated by Sir Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet, UK

12:30 Concluding remarks
Franco Cavalli

12:45 Lunch and departures

By the end of 2012 it is planned to publish the World Oncology Forum consensus statement in The Lancet together with the three keynote lectures and an editorial. A publication on the consensus statement will also appear in Cancer World early in 2013.

26 Oct - 27 Oct 2012

meeting website