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Role of American Society of Clinical Oncology in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is a global community of health care professionals whose stated purpose is to “make a world of difference” by improving cancer care around the world. Unfortunately, cancer survival rates vary significantly among countries with differing financial and infrastructural resources. Because ASCO is a professional oncology society committed to conquering cancer through research, education, prevention, and delivery of high-quality patient care, it is ideally suited to address this issue. ASCO could bring together oncology professionals and other necessary stakeholders from around the world to improve cancer care and lessen suffering for patients worldwide.

As part of the ongoing commitment of ASCO to the future of cancer care, the Leadership Development Program was created to foster the leadership skills of early and midcareer oncologists and provide these participants with a working knowledge of the depth and breadth of the organization. As participants in the inaugural class of the ASCO Leadership Development Program, we were charged with investigating how ASCO might favorably affect cancer prevention and treatment in resource-poor countries in a cost-effective, scalable, and sustainable fashion. ASCO can significantly influence cancer care in low- and middle-income countries through a comprehensive approach that promotes cancer awareness and education, improves clinical practice by identifying and removing barriers to delivery of quality cancer care, and fosters innovation to initiate novel solutions to complex problems.