SOURCE: Lance Armstrong Foundation

August 07, 2009 13:42 ET

LIVESTRONG® Global Cancer Campaign Announces Unprecedented Commitments in Palliative Care From Georgia, Romania, Sierra Leone, Uganda and the United States

Pain-Management Expert Professor Hamid Ghodse to Address Delegation at the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwire - August 7, 2009) - Today the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) announced unprecedented commitments in palliative care from Africa, Eastern Europe and the United States as part of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign, an initiative to aggressively address the global cancer burden. Each of these commitments is breaking new ground and setting better standards of care in their respective countries by educating healthcare professionals, improving access to medication and taking action to eliminate the stigma that surrounds this disease.

"Advancements in palliative care are critical to reducing the suffering caused by cancer," said Doug Ulman, LAF President and CEO. "We applaud these trailblazers in the field of pain management for demanding more ethical treatment for cancer survivors."

Dr. Pati Dzotsenidze, neuro-oncologist and board member of the Palliative Care Association "Humanists' Union" in Tbilisi, Georgia, explains that lack of knowledge caused the lack of priorities in palliative care and pain medicine. The Union aims to expand the knowledge of palliative care among medical personnel, remove the stigma associated with pain medicine through education and improve the circulation and supply of painkillers. By establishing internationally recognized standards for palliative care, they will balance medical, legal, bioethical and human rights of chronic, incurable cancer patients. The Union sees collaboration with policymakers critical to the success of filling these gaps in treatment.

Daniela Mosoiu, board member of Hospice Casa Sperantei in Brasov, Romania, explains, "At present, over 60% of cancer patients in Romania are diagnosed in stage III and IV and are not curable. Unfortunately, there are few palliative care services available for these patients with the estimated actual coverage of 5%. Annual deaths due to cancer in Romania are 65,000." In order to increase access to quality, affordable palliative care services in Romania, Hospice Casa Sperantei will fund palliative care research in oncology departments throughout Eastern Europe; educate doctors and nurses in oncology units in the correct way to approach a patient in pain and adopt a national budget line item exclusively for palliative care for organizing and funding services. "This commitment builds on the existing work and networking that our service has developed during its 17 years of experience," said Mosoiu. "It is a combination of a grassroots approach combined with expressed political commitment." Hospice Casa Sperantei is a national education center for palliative care, the first provider of such care in Romania and a model of treatment in Eastern Europe. The center is supported by 200 certified doctors and runs a pain-prescribing training program with more than 2,500 doctors and pharmacists.

Gabriel Madiye, founder and executive director of The Shepherd's Hospice in Freetown, Sierra Leone, is working together with the Sierra Leone Palliative Care Association and other health service providers to ensure every cancer patient in pain has access to palliative care by 2020. An important step in achieving that goal is implementing efforts by the united network to lobby state officials to pass policies that support palliative care and allow for future development and funding. Founded in 1994, The Shepherd's Hospice provides palliative care for cancer patients in severe pain. Madiye pushed for the groundbreaking repeal of opioid drug prohibition. Now the center uses an oral morphine solution, administered in strictly regulated doses, to reduce cancer patients' pain and suffering.

Dr. Mhoira Leng, palliative care physician and founder of Cairdeas Trust in Aberdeen, Uganda, said, "We recognize that social evils such as poverty and injustice must be addressed if palliative care is to be available to all." The Cairdeas Trust is working towards that goal through a number of ambitious initiatives including developing the first university training program for palliative care in Africa -- the Makerere Palliative Care Unit -- to train medical students, nurses and other healthcare providers, as well as establishing a Bachelor of Science degree in palliative care. The program will offer pain control models to 1,000 nationally referred hospitals and cancer clinics.

Christine DeCourtney, an employee with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage, Alaska, is committed to ensuring that the Comprehensive Cancer Plan for the Alaska Tribal Health System adequately represents indigenous populations and is focused on reducing training costs while spreading access to palliative care experts in Alaska. "Palliative care, particularly for indigenous people and other underserved populations is far behind that for wealthier populations," DeCourtney said. With the help of the partners, the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium developed the first Alaska Native comprehensive cancer plan, which included a statewide palliative care symposium for healthcare providers of indigenous people.

Professor Hamid Ghodse, one of the world's foremost experts on drug and alcohol-related addictions and health complications, will join the delegation to the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit, the Campaign's landmark event, in Dublin, Ireland, August 24-26, 2009 and address the 300 advocates selected from all over the world for their commitments to cancer control. Prof. Ghodse, a native of Iran, is a professor of international drug policy and chairman of the psychiatry department at the University of London. Prof. Ghodse serves as an advisor on drug-related pain management to various WHO and European Union expert committees and served as President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the independent expert body that promotes government compliance with the provisions of the United Nations drug control treaties.

The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit will make the case for urgent action to address the global cancer burden and introduce new commitments for cancer control by bringing together key stakeholders representing more than 65 countries from across the globe. The Summit will ignite a unified global movement while providing attendees the opportunity to connect with other advocates, network, gain media exposure and access tools and resources to help them mobilize in their own communities.

In September 2008, Lance Armstrong, LAF founder and chairman, cancer survivor and champion cyclist, announced the Foundation's commitment to making cancer a global priority at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York. The LAF made this commitment after its worldwide research, conducted over 18 months, revealed widespread misconceptions, stigma and lack of awareness associated with cancer. In response, the LAF established the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign to urgently address the burden of cancer worldwide and support the 28 million people living with cancer around the globe. Cancer kills more people every year than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. It is estimated that cancer will be the leading cause of death worldwide by 2010. With such staggering statistics, the LAF recognized that a global challenge like cancer required a global movement. And so it began urging world leaders, leading cancer organizations and cancer survivors to join together by making commitments to take action in their communities to reduce the burden of cancer.

The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign has broken new ground with successes to date in Australia, California, Mexico, Italy and, most recently at the Tour de France, where the LAF donated the proceeds from 130,000 LIVESTRONG wristbands sold in France and Monaco for EUR 1 to La Ligue Contre le Cancer and Ecoute Cancer Reconfort. The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign will head to the Tour of Ireland (Aug. 21-23) and the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit in Ireland (Aug. 24-26), as well as other locations to be announced. For more information on the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign, please visit www.LIVESTRONGAction.org.

About the Lance Armstrong Foundation

At the Lance Armstrong Foundation, we fight for the 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. There can be -- and should be -- life after cancer for more people. That's why we kick in at the moment of diagnosis, giving people the resources and support they need to fight cancer head-on. We find innovative ways to raise awareness, fund research and end the stigma about cancer that many survivors face. We connect people and communities to drive social change, and we call for state, national and world leaders to help fight this disease. Anyone anywhere can join our fight against cancer. Join us at www.LIVESTRONG.org.

International Narcotics Control Board

http://www.incb.org

Palliative Care Association "Humanists' Union"

http://www.palliativecare.org.ge

Hospice Casa Sperantei

www.hospice.ro

Cairdeas Trust

www.cairdeas.org.uk

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

www.palliativeak.org

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Rae Bazzarre
    Lance Armstrong Foundation
    (512) 279-8367
    Email Contact