GFCS Releases Third Article on Barriers to Care

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GFCS Releases Third Article on Barriers to CareThe Global Forum of Cancer Surgeons (GFCS) released its third article, Global Forum of Cancer Surgeons: Perspectives on Barriers to Surgical Care for Cancer Patients and Potential Solutions in time for SSO 2019; it identifies the barriers to surgical care for cancer patients in different countries. Qualitative data was collected from several global oncology societies regarding perceived barriers and suggested solutions. The article was published in the Annals of Surgical Oncology on March 25 and is available here.

The article begins by acknowledging that as cancer deaths increase worldwide and while surgery continues to play a significant role in the treatment of cancer, there are still many factors prohibiting cancer patients from receiving high-quality surgical care. The GFCS investigated this concern by surveying leaders from surgical oncology societies around the world and asking them to identify the obstacles to providing optimal surgical care.

Participants noted barriers to high-quality care as lack of standardized training, shortage of resources and the absence of a curriculum to teach surgical oncology trainees. Survey participants were also asked to offer solutions to the problems. Solutions included the advancement of a multidisciplinary approach based on clinical guidelines and the promotion of international observerships and educational opportunities. Some of these concepts are already in place or are in the early stages of being developed. For example, the International Career Development Exchange (ICDE) program provides funding and infrastructure for candidates from other countries to attend the SSO’s Annual Cancer Symposium and visit leading surgical oncology institutions in the United States. The European Society of Surgical Oncology, Brazilian Society of Surgical Oncology, Korean Society of Surgical Oncology and Japanese Society of Gastroenterological Surgery offer reciprocal observerships that provide educational opportunities and foster collaborations that can improve surgical care for cancer patients globally.

The GFCS is a body of cancer surgeons from across the world that work together and speak as one voice to address inequities in surgical care for cancer patients globally. The success of the initial qualitative pilot survey demonstrates that the GFCS has the potential to play a larger role on the global stage of cancer surgery.

The GFCS was organized by the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) and is comprised of global oncology societies from Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, Europe, India, Israel, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan and the United States. SSO 2019 marks its third meeting.