Cancer Organizations Ask Trump Administration to Maintain Relationship With WHO

July 19, 2020

US cancer researchers benefit from the exchange of information with the World Health Organization (WHO), which helps domestic patients as well as international ones.

This week, top cancer organizations cosigned a letter organized by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) asking the Trump administration to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Cancer is currently the second-leading cause of death worldwide and was responsible for more than 9.6 million deaths in 2018. In addition, cancer is rising in less-wealthy nations, and any efforts to reduce that burden requires the United States, the organizations said. The letter said that “the rapid progress of oncology research in the United States” requires that US researchers are able to access WHO information.

But it is not just the fact that the global fight against cancer requires the participation of the United States, the organizations said—they also noted that US researchers benefit from the free flow of information, which helps both domestic and international patients.

The organizations pointed out that any efforts to reduce the burden of cancer have bipartisan support, noting that in January, the House of Representatives passed the Global Hope Act of 2020, which states that “the United States should work to support the goals of the World Health Organization Initiative for Childhood Cancer, helping increase survival rates for children with cancer.” The Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer’s goal is to achieve at least a 60% survival rate for children with cancer by 2030, saving an additional 1 million lives.

Acute leukemia, one of the most common pediatric blood cancers, is 1 of 6 areas of focus in this initiative. Other parts of the plans include working to improve early diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care.

The act was sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and cosponsored by 20 representatives from both parties.

The letter was signed by the American Association of Cancer Research, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Society of Hematology, the American Society for Radiation Oncology, the Association for Clinical Oncology, the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses, CancerCare, and the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Association.