Cancer is a global health priority. New figures from GLOBOCAN 2012 state that there were 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million deaths attributable to cancer in 2012, an increase of over 10 percent in four years, driven by the growth and the aging of the global population. At the same time, the cost of treating cancer is rising at an even faster rate: for example, in the US, cancer spending is estimated to have grown from $27 billion in 1990 to $90 billion in 2008, and is forecast to reach $157 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, more than 50 percent of all new cancers and two-thirds of the annual cancer mortality worldwide happen in low-income and middle-income countries, with this proportion expected to increase.
A multitude of factors are driving unsustainable and dramatic cost inflation. The aim of the Forum will be to make actionable recommendations that might enable policymakers to ‘bend the cost curve’ and ensure sustainable access to cancer care.
Forum Chair: Professor Robert J S Thomas OAM
Chief Cancer Advisor, Victorian Government, Australia
Professor Robert J S Thomas, OAM is the Chief Cancer Advisor to the Victorian Government which has responsibility for the translational research agenda and funding for cancer research in Victoria. Professor Thomas is passionate about cancer reform, working to provide all Victorians with the benefits of multidisciplinary care, appropriate psychosocial support for cancer patients and carers and access to the best translational research.
Professor Thomas holds positions on many government cancer-related committees and brings a wealth of experience as both a cancer surgeon and researcher. Previously, he held the position of Chief Cancer Advisor to the Department of Health and Distinguished Fellow, Surgical Oncology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He has been heavily involved in the development of cancer reforms within Australia, serving as President of the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia, Chair of the National Committee creating the Colorectal Cancer Guidelines, and a member of the Ministerial Taskforce on Cancer. He was instrumental in the development of the discipline of Surgical Oncology in Australasia and was responsible for the creation of the Surgical Oncology Group within the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. He is a past Editor-in-Chief of the ANZ Journal of Surgery, and has served as Chair of the National Health and Medical Research Council panels. Professor Thomas has ongoing research interests in the molecular pathology of gastrointestinal tumors. Professor Thomas has published over 100 peer reviewed scientific papers and book chapters. He has been honored by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons with the Excellence in Surgery Award. He graduated in Medicine from the University of Melbourne and trained in surgery at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, as well as in England and Boston. After graduating he commenced surgical practice at the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he also taught medical students.