2021 -2022 activities

November 25: Through the kind advice of Dr. Murat Gultekin, the Secretary-General gives e speech at The Bulgarian National Cancer Control Plan organized by the Bulgarian Natl Assembly of Health Care: Mission Possible: Abstract:

The role of Family Doctors in Cancer Control. An underexploited resource to be urgently reprogrammed.  Pier Giorgio Natali MD, Ph.D. Mediterranean Taskforce for Cancer Control (MTCC),(www.mtcc-prevention.net)

Introduction: Because of increasing life expectancy, cancer represents a global emergency that can be tackled only by policies aimed at ensuring to the largest population a continuum of primary prevention interventions, access to early diagnosis, and therapies.

Description: A large fraction of cancers are already avoidable by primary prevention, the remaining averted by early diagnosis, thus limiting the occurrence of advanced disease “the key challenge in cancer treatment”.

Results: The presence of Family Doctors (FDs) on the territory has steadily declined in many public-private and mixed health systems due to policies that have moved health care from the territory to the hospital. This is in contrast to long-standing recognition of the link between life expectancy and density of FDs. The limits of this “hospital-focussed” architecture are now dramatically underscored by the occurring Covid pandemic. Collectively, this organizational drift requires interventions that cannot be further postponed in terms of reprogramming the “territorial oncology”. Thus any political inertia not fully exploiting the available knowledge to reduce the incidence of advanced diseases is unjustified from medical, ethical, and social points of view and is necessarily fostering an increase in unsustainable costs even for wealthy societies. In this context, FDs can play a major role in cancer control because a) can provide reliable censored information,  thus contributing to increase health literacy and advocacy b) know the patient’s history, living- occupational environment, thus being able to perceive symptoms that patient may underestimate c) can enforce preventive and diagnostic procedures tailored to patient’s co-morbidities d) cure chronic diseases often heralding tumor onset e) ensure referring specialists according to criteria of priority and congruity.

Take home message: FDs have an important and expanding role in cancer control that often goes beyond screening and diagnosis to treatment, survivorship, and palliative care. On the whole, family medicine is a privileged reference for health policymakers being the source of information on the feasibility, effectiveness, and economic sustainability of the adopted policies also in view of the increasing disparities.

November 24-26: Dr. Maisan Akroush organizes in Amman the Jordan Women Doctor Conference; excellence, distinction, and leadership



November: MTCC and The Italian League Against Cancer, Rome Chapter (LILT-Rome) post on the LILT Rome website the guidelines for Cancer Prevention for the LGBT+ Communities

October: our Members Maisam Akroush and Ziad Sharaiha endorse the Breast Cancer Prevention Campaign in Jordan

September. see June MTCC is chairing a session at the

Sept,25th. As MTCC Secretary-General Dr. Natali is lecturing at the 2021 Congress of the European Society for Translational Medicine (EUSTM). The role of General Practitioners in Cancer Control. An underexploited resource in translational oncology.

June: MTCC  signed a collaboration agreement with LILT for the development of public awareness messages

April: MTCC endorses the coming  XI PROBIOTICS, PREBIOTICS NEW FOODS, NUTRACEUTICALS, AND BOTANICALS for NUTRITION & HUMAN and MICROBIOTA HEALTH Rome Sept 12-14 (Organizer Prof Lucio Capurso, MTCC Member). In a Session dedicated to our beloved Members,  Massimo Crespi and Alberto Montori, three MTCC Members (Natali, Saggioro, Ascione) will give presentations to the section. Our Member   N. Lahbabi-Amrani President WGO (World Gastroenterology Organization) will contribute to the opening ceremony with a presentation titled “WGO activities and its involvement in nutrition”

Upon request of our Member Prof. Sami Khatib, MTCC contributed to the organization of the 20thPan Arab Cancer Congress by engaging 5 speakers, including MTCC Members

March: MTCC is Collaborating Partner to the HPV Day in collaboration with the IPVS, the “Regina Elena” National Cancer Inst. Rome (HPV Unit chaired by our Member Prof Aldo Venuti) and LILT  by releasing awareness videos and leaflets for the adult and youngsters population

February: MTCC signed a collaboration agreement with the International Papilloma Virus Society (IPVS)

February: on the 25th, the 99th anniversary of the Italian League for the Fight Against Cancer LILT (www.LILT.it), LILT distributes  350 thousand copies of the MTCC primary and secondary prevention leaflets in the Country

On Cancer Day, our Member Dr. Maisam Akaroush gived a Seminar on “Gastro-Intestinal Cancer” at the Patient’s Friends Society Jerusalem chaired by our Member Carol El-Jabari

January: MTCC endorses the Mediterranean Interventional Oncology (Mio–live ) 25-26 January 2021 meeting organized by our Member Prof Roberto Iezzi

2022 Activities

Cancer Day. 4th February. Rome: MTCC, in collaboration with the Italian League against Cancer (LILT) and the “Federico Calabresi” Foundation, publishes on the UICC Map of events Guideline for managing cancer-associated pain

Member Christos Lionis will diffuse the guidelines in English in Greece

Cancer Day. Amman: Member Maisam Akroush releases an interview on Jordan TV network advocating cancer primary and secondary prevention https://youtu.be/w7Cmx-Hm9sA

February 25th. Rome The Italian League Against Cancer (LILT), founded in 1922, celebrates its 100th Anniversary. During the celebration, LILT, in collaboration with MTCC, will bestow our Honorary Member HRH Princess Dina Mired, past UICC President and presently Honorary President of EORTC, with recognition of Her continuous engagement and advocacy in cancer control.

Princess Dine delivered the following keynote speech

C entennial Celebration Italian League for the Fight Against Cancer (LILT) 25 February 2022, Rome Keynote speech by HRH Princess Dina Mired Immediate Past President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) Former Director of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation Patron of International Society for Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) Honorary President of European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Member of WHO Civil Society Working group on NCD’s

Your Excellency Roberto Speranza- Minister of Health, Your Excellency Dr Francesco Schittulli, LILT President All Members of the Italian Cancer League- past and present Colleagues from the Mediterranean Task Force for Cancer Control (MTCC) Esteemed guests

Thank you for inviting me to be part of this very important celebration. A celebration of 100 years of sustained and committed work against the “emperor of all maladies”- CANCER. In these corona times, I cannot start my speech before thanking you, our health care workers not only in Italy but also around the world. Words alone cannot express how we are beyond indebted to you all. You are putting your lives at risk, day in day out, for the sake of saving us. You have given a new and profound meaning to the term “the ultimate sacrifice”. Within the cancer community, health providers and patients alike have undoubtedly suffered the worst of the double burden of the impact of the coronavirus. We all know that cancer does not wait for covid-19 to end. Its destructive work is unfortunately genetically mapped out with absolute precision in timing and action. In fact, cancer thrives when the system is broken. As a mother of a cancer survivor, I know only too well the worry of infection for an immunosuppressed cancer patient. To add to that the anguish of having essential services for early detection, diagnosis or treatment canceled or delayed; when we all know that “timing” is crucial when it comes to cancer – …is just beyond imaginable. Having said that, it has been extremely heartening to learn about how our cancer community adapted to address the real challenges people face on the ground. The stories are nothing short of heroic, with both personal and collective endeavors being made to ensure that cancer diagnosis and treatment are not completely run over by the covid-19 destructive machine. However, despite these herculean efforts, early reports are already coming out talking about expected increased mortality for cancer patients because of all those delays and cancellations. As we speak today, we have 19.3 million new cancer patients with 10 million patients dying annually. 10 million fellow human beings – 70% of the dying still mainly carried by the poor and the disadvantaged within our global community, especially in Low Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Many of these cancer patients, still to this day, die needlessly from diseases that can be prevented, can be vaccinated against, can be screened for, and for which, in many cases, there is a cure. Cervical cancer is the most striking example, where widespread screening, early diagnosis, and HPV vaccination could lead to its eradication – and yet decisive action and adequate funding are still not forthcoming! 3 Why is that? Ironically, the fight against the coronavirus required us all to don “masks”. And yet, it took the coronavirus, at a tragic and exorbitant human cost, to actually “unmask” too many uncomfortable truths. For example, we have long spoken about the shortage of about 18 million health care workers all over the world. And we are seeing the devastating effect of that now. We have also spoken about the shortage of equipment, medication, lack of efficient health care delivery systems, financial inaccessibility, and lack of a decisive and unified political will and strategy. All fell on deaf ears. One core issue that Covid-19 has also revealed and what we as a global health community have been actively calling for – for far too long- …end the divisiveness between diseases. The global health community has always spoken out against the pitting of one disease over another; the either/or dichotomy of dealing with diseases rather than dealing with people, such as between communicable and non-communicable diseases. This faulty approach has shown us, that there are serious consequences in terms of both action and funding bias for one over another. This is one of the main reasons why LMIC’s cancer control and treatment infrastructure has long been delayed. In addition, we have also been calling for the importance of dealing with cancer in a comprehensive way. From prevention to early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care. Unfortunately, until today, many countries are ready to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on treatment costs, and even late treatment, and refuse to invest in prevention and early detection that can save millions more in precious lives, finances and with the added benefit of not overburdening their health systems. It is like spending thousands of dollars on expensive security equipment for your home and then leaving all doors open! And Cancer not only knows all the loopholes but actually thrives on them. We know that some viruses lure him, and Cancer is drawn to certain families, often preying on generations We know that carcinogens attract him and Cancer loves toxic environmental pollution. But what cancer thrives on most of all, what provides him with over 30% of his lifeline, what fuels him, strengthens him is ignorant and neglectful. Cancer feeds on the inactive, the obese, on those whose lungs have been weakened by smoke, whose skin has been crisped by the sun, or whose bloodstreams have been drowned in alcohol. Those are the ones that tempt him most of all. And you as LILT have long known that. You have focused your lifetime’s work on shutting the door on cancer through your awareness campaigns on prevention. By so doing, you have protected the Italian people by arming them with the knowledge of how they can starve the cancer of his fuel. And through your awareness campaigns about the importance for early detection, you have exposed cancer before it can continue its destructive work. You have empowered your citizens with the life-saving knowledge that prevention and early detection does save lives. 4 Having said this, leading a so-called “healthy lifestyle” cannot be the sole responsibility of the individual. Lifestyle changes, as they are so-called, give the impression that it is a matter of choice or preference. But when unhealthy foods are more affordable than the healthy when tobacco that kills is so easily available, and when facilities or space for exercise are non-existent, it becomes not a lifestyle choice, but a life sentence. As aptly put by Vital Strategies’ organization of which I am a proud ambassador, “It’s time to reimagine public health. We all need to understand that Good Health does not just happen! It is actively produced and protected for everyone, by everyone, across all facets of our lives— in our families and communities, and countries. Good health is safe roads, clean air, accessible and affordable healthy unprocessed foods and so on…It’s small choices and big policies. It’s the result of hundreds of decisions that each of us makes every day and an environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice”. Thank you LILT for working for 100 years calling for and supporting the creation of an environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice. I hope that once the covid-19 nightmare is over, world leaders will take stock, rethink their priorities, and support the strengthening of health systems all over the world. Because the real war is no longer fought by the power of a gun, but by the power of a strong, sustainable, and buttressed health system that is equitable for all.