In recent decades, real progress has been made in cancer care, from screening and diagnosis to treatment. Despite these advances, who you are and where you call home may have a great influence on whether you can access the cancer care you deserve.

Every person who receives a cancer diagnosis hopes for one thing: to beat the disease, and to beat it quickly. But without access to quality healthcare, this is a pipedream for millions of people all over the world. For example, childhood cancer survival rates are over 80% in high-income countries but as low as 20% in low-income countries.1 For white women in the US, the five-year survival rate for cervical cancer is 71%. For black women, it’s just 58%.2 In refugee populations, cancer is more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, leading to worse outcomes.3

While these figures are appalling, they are sadly a reality for many people worldwide. The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is the largest and oldest international cancer organisation representing the world’s major cancer societies, ministries of health and patient groups. It has highlighted several social determinants of health – just some of the factors that can unfairly stand between people and cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment – as part of itsinitiative.

World Cancer Day originated on 4 February 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris. Held annually ever since, the initiative aims to spark conversations and provoke deeper dialogue on the most critical issues in cancer all around the world.

Distinct types of cancer present unique challenges to different people.why, despite well known risks, the majority of people with liver cancer get diagnosed late-stage, and what solutions are being implemented to improve outcomes for patients.

Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live. Globally, countless people and organisations, including our researchers and scientists at Roche, share the same ambition: to bring cancer prevention, diagnostic and treatment innovations to patients no matter their circumstances. However, barriers to access in cancer care and their causes are complex and must be tackled jointly. Public and private sectors, as well as society at large, are urged to acknowledge this shared responsibility to address and end these inequities. Only by recognising the barriers to access, by challenging ourselves and others, and by listening to the unique perspectives of people living with cancer around the world can we begin to improve cancer care for one Ivory Coast breast cancer survivor is advocating for more women to have access to information and high-quality care close to where they live.

Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in women, and is particularly devastating in low- and middle-income countries where the burden falls disproportionately and the opportunity for cure is low. At Roche, we’re committed to eliminating cervical cancer globally by increasing screening accuracy, efficiency and access for all we’ve joined forces with the World Health Organization as part of a Global Access Program to help prevent women from dying of this preventable cancer.

From shared hopes to equal care: together there is much more we can do - and are already doing - to achieve a more equitable society.

more about the importance of partnerships to broaden access to cancer care.


  1. World Health Organization. Childhood cancer. [Internet; cited January 2022]. Available from:

  2. Cancer.Net. Cervical cancer: Statistics. [Internet; cited January 2022]. Available from:

  3. World Health Organization. 10 things to know about the health of refugees and migrants. [Internet; cited January 2022]. Available from:

  4. International Agency for Research on Cancer. Reducing social inequalities in cancer: evidence and priorities for research. [Internet; cited January 2022]. Available from:

  5. Richardson et al. Patterns and Trends in Age-Specific Black-White Differences in Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality – United States, 1999–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65(40): 1093–1098

  6. Levit et al. Closing the Rural Cancer Care Gap: Three Institutional Approaches. JCO Oncology Practice. 2020;16(7): 422-430

  7. Sterling and Garcia. Cancer screening in the transgender population: a review of current guidelines, best practices, and a proposed care model. Transl Androl Urol. 2020;9(6): 2771–2785

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