Vivek Tomar, Patient Research Advocate, Rise To Survive Cancer, India
I would like to thank the IASLC for strongly emphasizing such an important topic in its Plenary Session, "Disparities in Lung Cancer Care: The Global Burden." There has been so much progress made in lung cancer management, overall patient care, and general disease awareness thanks to novel research and patient advocacy efforts. Patient lives have been extended longer than previously dreamed, and health care providers now have a wealth of different options of treatments available, depending on disease type, for some patients. Unfortunately this progress has been limited to only a few countries worldwide. There are so many countries and millions of patients who do not have access to targeted therapies (despite the existence of effective agents) and, if patients do have access to the latest treatment, these potentially life-saving therapies are often unaffordable. In addition, there is significant lack of awareness among healthcare providers and the general population in some countries regarding lung cancer diagnosis (molecular profiling), latest treatments, and clinical trials. For patients from those parts of the world, living with lung cancer with an acceptable quality of life even for 1 year post-diagnosis still is a dream. It is the responsibility of each one of us as part of the IASLC community to ensure that such cruel disparities in lung cancer care are overcome—otherwise we will not be able to live peacefully with the burden of so many lives lost due to these inequalities. We all have to work to promote accessibility, affordability, equity, awareness, and education in lung cancer management.