cancer is a global problem, with countries worldwide struggling to keep pace with the speed of innovation, budgetary constraints and cancer control and prevention. cancer is now the number one killer worldwide, with more deaths than HIV, malaria and heart disease combined. 17 million cases of cancer were diagnosed worldwide in 2018 and 9.6 million people died of cancer in 2018 with cancer incidence expected to rise 62% by 2040.

cancer isn’t just a health issue, its a societal issue, and stakeholders must start to come together to find solutions to control, prevent and cure cancer. the cancer collaborative has a mandate to work with stakeholders, not only to engage them in creating system readiness, but to find solutions to some of the most daunting challenges we, as canadians, are faced with in oncology.

over the last four years, the economist has hosted a series of cancer summits in europe, articulating the challenges and opportunities in improving cancer control, including a considerable unmet patient and societal need; cancer control and preparedness varies among and within countries; and investment and health systems generally lag behind the advances in technology and services available to combat cancer. this year, as well as last year, the cancer collaborative assisted, to better understand some of the actions europe has been putting into place to control and prepare for, and to translate this into a canadian context.

while the way forward can seem dauntingly complex, there are solutions, and the economist event clearly highlighted the need for partnerships and collaborations amongst stakeholders across the cancer continuum.

the summit built on the findings of the economist intelligence unit’s recently released index of cancer preparedness and explored examples and case studies from programmes that have navigated the complexities to genuinely “move the needle” on cancer control. the theme, celebrating success, accelerating progress—highlighted some of the success, even if at present these are small-scale—in areas of policy, regulation, investment, partnerships, systems and technology which have led to better outcomes for patients. and asking important questions regarding what was accomplished, how, and how can we build on this progress?