First Southeast Asia Cancer Care Summit Highlights Plight of Patients In The Region

Over the weekend, global experts gathered at the Mundipharma Cancer Care Summit over the weekend to plan how to improve the quality-of-life for cancer patients in Asia. A key focus was the alarming number of people across Asia suffering from cancer pain.
The ACHEON study – which summarised data collected from 1,190 patients across 10 Asian countries*, and detailed the impact of cancer pain on patients’ quality of life, employment and levels of self-reliance – provided background for the sessions on cancer pain at the summit.
[*Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam]

The ACHEON study found a significant impact of cancer pain on a patient’s quality of life, employment and self-reliance, highlighting the need to develop more effective management practices for cancer pain that will require collaborative efforts from institutional, social and regulatory organisations.

  • 92% of patients reported that their pain affected activities of daily living
  • 86% said it affected their sleeping patterns
  • 87% reported impacts to their concentration and focus levels
  • 67% saw an over reliance on other people
53% of respondents attributed their pain from cancer, while 18% related it back to cancer-related therapy. Unfortunately, 40% of patients have reported that their pain treatment was inadequate to control their pain on at least one occasion in the past.
Of the 1,059 patients receiving treatments for their cancer pain, only 286 of these patients were receiving opioids. 84 per cent of patients had never been referred to a pain clinic and only half of the patients had had their pain assessed according to a scale and only 6 per cent had been treated by pain specialists.
Dr. Jin Seok Ahn – Medical Oncologist, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea, commented: “Cancer-related pain is complex and debilitating condition that creates a significant socioeconomic burden for patients across Asia. The data from the ACHEON survey confirms the need for collaboration in order to make effective and efficient pain management available in order to help patients enhance their quality of life.”
Dr Elon Eisenberg, Director Pain Research Unit, Institute of Pain Medicine, Rambam Health Care Campus, and Dr Bart Morlion, Professor, University of Leuven & President-Elect of the European Pain Federation, led the sessions on cancer pain that sought solutions to these issues.
Dr Morlion said the summit can be a catalyst for a re-assessment of pain management across the region. “Given so few patients suffering from cancer pain are being treated by specialists, there is enormous potential to improve pain management in Southeast Asia. With an aging population, cancer related pain management is growing and serious problem.”
New cancer diagnoses are expected to grow to nearly 11 million per year in Asia by 2030. The establishment of this first Southeast Asia-focused cancer care summit – which covered Cancer Pain, Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV) and Oral Mucositis – is a response to this. It follows a series of highly-successful events on same theme facilitated by Mundipharma in emerging markets, including the Middle East and China.
Oncologists and pain specialists who attended the summit learned about medical advances and best practice in cancer care at the summit chaired by Associate Prof. Supranee Niruthisard, President of Thai Association for the Study of Pain; Assistant Prof. Thitiya Dejthevaporn Vice President of Thai Society of Clinical Oncology.
Sessions included plenary lectures by leading medical experts from around the world, including: Dr Stephen Della-Fiorentina, Director, Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre, Australia; Dr Jeeve Kanagalingam, Director, ENT Practice, Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre, and Visiting Consultant, John Hopkins Singapore.
“Significant strides were made were made at the summit. Rendering these into the necessary, tangible improvements in cancer care for patients across the region will require ongoing collaborative efforts from institutional organisations, industry and regulatory authorities,” said Mundipharma General Manager for Southeast Asia and Korea, John Lee.
“For its part, Mundipharma is committed to improving the quality of life for cancer patients by providing effective treatments, working to make optimal care more accessible to those in need and facilitating thought leadership initiatives for medical practitioners such as the Cancer Care Summit.”

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