3IN - A lifetime in Paradise

Date 26 September 2014
Event ESMO 2014
Session Opening Session and refreshments
Topics Aetiology, Epidemiology, Screening and Prevention
Basic Scientific Principles
Presenter Peter Boyle
Citation Annals of Oncology (2014) 25 (suppl_4): iv3-iv3. 10.1093/annonc/mdu286
Authors P. Boyle
  • -, International Prevention Research Institute, FR-69130 - Ecully/FR




Although the global burden of cancer is not known with precision, it is certain that it has doubled over the last 25 years and is set to double again before 2030. This period has also witnessed unprecedented advances in knowledge of Oncology from understanding causes, both lifestyle and biological, to the enormous progress in developing effective treatments for many forms of cancer.

However, the contrast in diagnosis, treatment and outcomes between the high-resource and low-resource countries is dramatic. This is a particularly important issue since the pattern of cancer globally in the foreseeable future will be heavily dependent on what happens in China, India and Africa, where half of the world's population currently live. Africa presents the biggest challenge with population growth and life expectancy increasing in many countries as the toll of AIDS declines.

Studying and striving to understand these challenges has been my life's work.

It is bad to have cancer and worse to have cancer if you are poor. The gap between rich and poor, highly educated and less educated and the North-South divide is substantial and continuing to grow. Radical solutions are urgently needed: the status quo is not an appropriate response. New models are needed to cope with and improve this situation: no single source of philanthropy has the means to solve this problem. It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that there is a need for a major Private-Public partnership, involving a number of sources from different arenas, to make the necessary progress with the briefest delay.

Public and Private organisations frequently have an underlying suspicion of each other that must be overcome in the interests of improving cancer care and outcome worldwide. Health is not a competition. The situation is dramatic and urgent and it behoves all parties to put this frequently deep-rooted suspicion behind them and develop an effective collaboration to improve this key aspect of Public Health throughout the world.

Why the title of this article? I have never woken up on a Monday morning and wished that I was not going to work. I enjoy enormously what I have been doing and find fulfilment in contributing in some small way to a better understanding of cancer prevention and improving the outcome of patients with cancer. However, there is lots more to be done.


The author has declared no conflicts of interest.