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World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium Charter of Paris: 4 February 2000

World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium Charter of Paris: 4 February 2000


Deeply troubled by the profound and universal impact of cancer
on human life, human suffering, and on the productivity of nations;

Committed to the humanitarian treatment and equal
partnership of people with cancer
in the ongoing effort against
this disease;

Anticipating the rapidly rising tide of cancer incidence
throughout the globe, in developed and developing nations alike;

Recognizing the need for intensified innovation in all
avenues of cancer research, prevention and healthcare delivery;

Believing that quality health care is a basic human right;

Acknowledging that currently achievable improvements in
cancer survival remain unrealized
, due to inadequate emphasis on
prevention, inadequate funding and unequal access to quality cancer care;

Certain that lives can and will be saved by increased access
to existing technologies;

Aspiring to nothing less than an invincible alliance—between
researchers, healthcare professionals, patients, government,
industry and media—to fight cancer and its greatest allies,
which are fear, ignorance, and complacency&ldots;

We, the undersigned, in order to prevent and cure cancer, and to
maintain the highest quality of life for those living with and dying
from this disease, fully commit and hold ourselves accountable to the
principles and practices outlined herein.

Article I

Cancer patient rights are human rights. The currently evolving
movement to define and adopt cancer patients’ rights is critical
to recognizing and protecting the value and dignity of individuals
with cancer throughout the world.

Article II

  • The stigma associated with cancer is a significant barrier to
    progress in both developed and developing nations, often causing:

  • Undue emotional trauma for patients and their families

  • Bias and discrimination against employment of people with cancer
    and/or their meaningful participation in and contribution to society

  • Related financial hardship and loss of productivity

  • Poor communication and insufficient public education

  • An undue sense of fatalism that can adversely impact the commitment
    of governments, health agencies, and private institutions in the war
    against cancer.

The parties to this charter undertake to better understand and
eradicate the stigmas associated with cancer, to assertively redefine
the disease as a treatable biological pathology and not a social condition.

The positive realignment of popular opinion, perception, and concern
regarding cancer and the millions of lives it affects will enable the
full realization of each of the following priorities.

Article III

The parties undertake a vigorous commitment to create an optimal
environment for anticancer research


1. Knowledge of the biology of cancer and the fundamental mechanisms
by which cancers emerge and progress is the origin of all advances
that have increased and will further increase the rate of cure and
the quality of life of millions of people worldwide. The
identification of new targets for detection, diagnosis, and treatment
must accelerate if we are to win the war against cancer.

The parties agree to aggressively build the case for enhanced
government and industry funding of basic research, to encourage,
protect and incentivize those who innovate, and to increase the means
by which scientists may labor in intellectual freedom to constantly
advance the frontiers of current knowledge.

2. Clinical research is the sole means by which basic research
becomes meaningful to the lives of human beings. Breakthroughs in
molecular biology or genetics can have no impact on cancer
prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment unless they are carefullyevaluated
and developed in clinical trials.

Research in the clinic also can immediately inform ongoing basic
research efforts. This kind of translational research, commonly
conducted by institutions with both a basic and clinical research
capability, rapidly tests hypotheses generated in the laboratory.
Immediate feedback from the clinic obtained through translational
research can meaningfully redirect basic research efforts and
stimulate the generation of important new hypotheses.

Despite its importance, clinical research is significantly challenged
not only by a lack of funding, but often by a lack of involvement on
the part of healthcare professionals and institutions—and a lack
of awareness among patients of the purpose and benefits of
participating in clinical studies. Inadequate legal and regulatory
harmonization between countries also means that large international
clinical trials—the kind that are statistically powerful and can
rapidly advance medical practice—can be extremely difficult and
costly to conduct.

The parties pledge to elevate awareness and commitment to clinical
research among all constituencies they represent and to seize every
opportunity to strengthen the international research infrastructure.
The parties further pledge to advance universal recognition of
informed consent—the process by which patients are fully advised
of the purpose, risks, and benefits of any clinical study. In so
doing, the parties seek to enable rapid, powerful and inclusive
clinical trials that ethically engage and also empower people with cancer.

Article IV

Despite the considerable strides that have been taken in the fight
against cancer, survival outcomes vary dramatically throughout the
world—not just between countries, not just between cities, but
even between institutions within the same city. Wide variations in
standards of care and access to quality cancer care are a major cause
of these discrepancies—and the often unnecessary morbidity and
mortality that result.

The parties reaffirm Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, which states that every individual “has the right to a
standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself
and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical
care.” Given the ubiquitous presence of cancer and its impact on
society the parties commit to promote quality cancer care within the
local economic context for all individual. The parties therefore
endeavor to promote:

  1. Evidence-based medical practice and clear definition of “quality
    care” according to all available scientific evidence.

  2. Systematic development of guidelines based on the best available
    evidence for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care.

  3. Appropriate prioritization of quality anticancer care at every level
    of healthcare provision, consistent with the total burden of disease.

  4. Intensified cancer specialization and better integration of care
    among medical disciplines.

  5. Widespread patient access to high-quality clinical trials.


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