We have posted many blogs, generally, on the topics of cancer control and prevention enhancement, cancer research facilitation, and building capacity in low- and middle-income countries. It’s quite easy to see how pediatric cancers can get lost in the mix. My background in pediatric cancers has inspired me to act as an advocate, representing the many children facing cancer, through my work with partners to promote cancer control worldwide.
During my recent trip to Toronto, Canada in late October, I met with several colleagues from UICC, Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey; University of Toronto; SickKids Hospital of Toronto, Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Center during the International Consensus Meeting: Guidelines for Pediatric Cancer Staging. During this meeting, one topic of focus was the importance of population-based registries for pediatric cancers. Since the incidence of pediatric cancer is relatively constant worldwide, strengthening population-based registries to collect data on the extent of disease at diagnosis would be helpful in determining if late diagnosis may explain difference in outcome globally. Discussions were held on the importance of establishing an appropriate and reliable staging system that could withstand the numerous challenges presented when working on a global level. One of the many impressive outcomes from this meeting included the development of key guidelines, formed by consensus, for the uniform, global reporting of staging for pediatric cancers. These guidelines take into account limited accessibility to high-precision technologies used for disease staging in low- and middle-income countries. This knowledge reiterates the need for valuable measures of success in cancer control that can be met through sustainable pediatric cancer registries that deliver quality data across the globe.
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I would like to take this opportunity to announce the new NCD coordinator for the National Cancer Institute, Dr. John Flanigan. John will work across NCI and the other NIH ICs to coordinate efforts in addressing common risk factors for non-communicable diseases. He will also provide expertise in our engagement with the Caribbean and devise a plan to strengthen global pathology.
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The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has had a long partnerships with many countries and regions around the world in the development and support of cancer registries; many going back twenty years, as is the case in the Middle East.
The NCI, Center for Global Health (CGH), the University of California at Irvine, the Middle East Cancer Consortium, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer partnered in support of the training course, held in Ankara, Turkey this past October, on The Uses of Cancer Registry Data in Cancer Control Research. The course featured Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Sultan Esser from Izmir, Turkey Cancer Registry (ICR), in a presentation highlighting the new Global Initiative on Cancer Registry, the ICR hub model, and the growing trend in Turkey to increase cancer registration. Dr. Esser also emphasized the opportunities that the hub would bring to registries in the North Africa and Central and Western Asia regions. Mature registries also presented recent analyses, being prepared for publication. Dr. Esser, along with three other registry PIs, Dr. Haris Charalambous (Cyprus); Dr. Omar Nimri (Jordan); and Dr. Barbara Silverman (Israel), presented their multi-country analyses on colorectal, lung, bladder cancer and breast, respectively. While there are many applications, these presentations demonstrated just one way in which registry data can be utilized.
CGH staff members take a moment to engage in some frivolity in celebration of Halloween. "Everything is about task and relationship. We need to make sure we take some time away from our busy schedule [tasks] to keep our working relationships strong. What is better than sharing food and laughing at one another's costumes?” says Lisa Stevens, Deputy Director for Planning and Operations, CGH. There were costumes representing Scotland, and even coordinated costume pairs like a monkey and banana. "We have incredibly dedicated staff members who work in very intense and high-demand situations," says Tom Gross, Deputy Director for Science, CGH. "It is nice to see them taking a break and having fun."
After the pot-luck celebration, folks returned to focusing on networks in Latin America, the upcoming World Cancer Congress, and breast cancer partnerships, to name a few. "I am proud to lead such a great team. Looking forward to many more team-building activities with this group," noted CGH Director, Ted Trimble.
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The Spanish word for “cancer” is “cáncer” – they are almost exactly the same, and so are the challenges that many countries like Mexico and the United States face when it comes to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.