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'Cancer does not stop for war', Dr. Susie Stanway

Updated: Jan 25

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.

People living in countries affected by conflict, as well as those in fragile countries, experience worse cancer outcomes compared to more stable regions. Conflict and war result in displacement of manpower and people affected by cancer, destruction of physical infrastructure and supply chains, and the weakening or breakdown of healthcare systems. As a result, preventive measures and crucial health screenings may not take place. For example, Sudan, which was a regional hub for cancer care, has seen its healthcare facilities and access to treatment recently disrupted due to conflict.

Globally, approximately 85 million people in unstable countries are at a higher risk of cancer compared to those in stable countries. Additionally, cancer has a significant economic impact at many levels, for example leading to increased out-of-pocket health expenses, loss of productivity which can then push families caring for people with cancer into poverty. It’s estimated that between 2020-2050, the global cost of cancer will be US$25.2 trillion.

Susie Stanway, a cancer specialist who has an interest in global cancer control is the guest of the Purposely Podcast.

Having become a consultant oncologist, Susie shifted her main focus to becoming an advocate for improved cancer care in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs) and more recently, fragile countries.

Motivated to bring about global change, Susie co-founded London Global Cancer Week, a series of meetings that provide a comprehensive picture of the rising global incidence of cancer along with the challenges associated with this and potential solutions. These meetings also focus on strengthening cancer prevention and control in LMICs, with a particular emphasis on the UK's contribution.

As many have recognised, to bring about real improvements in cancer outcomes, we need to go beyond the “cancer world” and educate and influence people in other spheres. One such example is a collaboration she’s driven to create a single titled 'More Than Fairy Tales' which aims to raise awareness of and funds for cancer care in conflict affected countries such as Ukraine and Sudan. Musicians from around the world, including Sudanese and Ukrainian singers, as well as English singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner, 19-year-old singer-songwriter and producer Jasmine Foxall and British rapper Blackk Chronical, have come together with over 60 other people to release this single.

More about Susie Stanway:

Dr. Susie Stanway is a consultant medical oncologist in London, specializing in breast cancer. She founded and chaired the steering group of the “Cancer control in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs)” conference held annually since November 2016 that in 2019 became London Global Cancer Week. She has co-founded the UK and Ireland Global Cancer Network.

She teaches in the UK on global cancer control (for example on the ICR MSc Course, UCL Global Health MSc and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on the Diploma of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene Course) and internationally. She has received awards from the Global Challenges Research Fund to collaboratively contribute to research projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

She sits on the ECO inequalities network and has historically been on the ESMO global policy committee. She is currently working with colleagues in several LMICs and conflict affected countries to contribute to capacity building. She has recently studied Public Policy Analysis at the London School of Economics. Alongside reducing between-country cancer outcome inequalities she has interest in reducing within-country inequalities in the UK for example sitting on Breast Cancer Now Inequalities Funding Committee, contributing to the recently published Health Policy Partnership toolkit (Inclusion by design: building equity in clinical trials through the lens of metastatic breast cancer) and advocating. She sits on the Development Board of Breast Cancer Now. She is also interested in the nexus of climate change and health and sits on the steering group of Oncology Advocates United for Climate and Health International (OUCH)



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