On 18-20 October 2022, four years after its last Congress in Kuala Lumpur, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) rallied the global cancer community in the capital of global health, Geneva, Switzerland. The Congress programme was drawn from the contribution of the global cancer community and overseen by a group of international experts including Dr Stephen R Connor, WHPCA Executive Director. who co-chaired one of the seven ‘tracks’ in the conference. That track was oncology treatment and palliative care and included seven presentations on palliative care. The programme combined sessions delivered in-person in Geneva which were recorded onsite and made available on the dedicated online digital platform at the end of each congress day. There were 1600 attendees in person and 400 virtually, but all registered for the meeting can access any of the content until the end of this year. The highlight session on palliative care was on the topic of “Integration of Palliative Care into Standard Oncology Practice: Is it working?” With speakers from American Society for Medical Oncology (ASCO) and ESMO European Society for Medical Oncology and was chaired by Dr Connor and Dr Carlos Rodriquez-Galindo from St. Jude.
The popular conference “Big Debate” rallied conference delegates around a topical and sensitive topic in cancer control. Participants gained insights into both sides of the argument and had the opportunity to share and voice their opinions. The Big Debate was held on Wednesday 19 October 2022, in the plenary room. The topic of discussion was, ‘Should medical aid in dying be available for all cancer patients in all countries?’ The debaters were Prof Ilora Finlay, Baroness Finlay of LIandaff Professor of Palliative medicine, Cardiff University of School of Medicine, United Kingdom and Dr Cameron McLaren Medical Oncologist, Berwick Integrated Care, Australia. The Big Debate was moderated by Dr Stephen R. Connor. At the end of the debate delegates were able to choose three options:
- Yes, medical aid in dying should be available for all cancer patients
- No medical aid in dying should not be available, and
- Medical aid in dying should only be available where there is full access to palliative care.
Sixty percent of attendees chose the third option. The next World Cancer Congress will be held in two years, location to be announced.