PITTSBURGH, PA—October 22, 2020—Nurses serve a critical and proven role in reducing the burden of cancer and improving the lives of patients with cancer. Yet, for millions of people across the globe, access to health care is not a given, and nurses don’t have the educational and occupational support to perform to their full abilities.

To advocate for universal access to health care and optimal nursing support to improve care for patients with cancer, the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) with four other nursing organizations—the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care, Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, Asian Oncology Nursing Society, and European Oncology Nursing Society—released the Cancer Nursing’s Potential to Reduce the Growing Burden of Cancer Across the World position statement.

“During the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse, ONS stands with our international colleagues recognizing the important role of nurses in reducing the global burden of cancer,” immediate ONS Past President Laura Fennimore, MSN, RN, FAAN, said. Fennimore, who was also one of the authors of the position statement, added, “This position statement recognizes the value that nurses bring to cancer prevention, treatment, survivorship, and palliative care and offers clear actions needed to support nurses in that quest.”

Globally, an estimated 18.1 million new cancer cases and 9.6 million cancer-related deaths occurred in 2018, and by 2040, an estimated 27 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed. As many as half of cancers can be prevented, and early diagnosis and access to evidence-based treatments are proven to improve care across the trajectory.

Evidence shows that oncology nurses are essential to reduce cancer incidence, improve survival and quality of life, and provide better palliative care. Yet, especially in low-resource countries, nurses often face lack of respect for their role, lack of support for education and training, and unsafe working conditions.

To change that paradigm, the joint ONS position statement calls for formally recognizing the role of the cancer nurse as a key part of global cancer control with mandates for appropriate nursing resources, removal of barriers, safe staffing levels, and safe work environments, among other objectives to support and grow nursing across the world.

ONS is a professional association that represents 100,000 nurses and is the professional home to more than 35,000 members. ONS is committed to promoting excellence in oncology nursing and the transformation of cancer care. Since 1975, ONS has provided a professional community for oncology nurses, developed evidence-based education programs and treatment information, and advocated for patient care, all in an effort to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients with cancer and their families. Learn more at www.ons.org.