Too many people are still being diagnosed with cancer too late

Inclusive cancer nursing and services are a worldwide goal and every nurse can make a difference and help to ensure the voices of people with cancer are heard

Global cancer icon showing ribbons around a map of the world
Picture: iStock

As another new year begins, it is time to stop and recognise the wonderful and diverse reality of working in cancer nursing, not only in the UK, but across the world.

Many of you may already been engaged with The Global Power of Oncology Nursing (GPON) network. This is a vibrant and growing global movement of cancer nurses who promote, reflect on, and share the lives, work, achievements and challenges of working in cancer care, particularly in low resource countries.

Many people across the world and being diagnosed with cancer too late

In these countries, many people with cancer still do not have adequate access to essential nursing care, cancer treatments or support. The GPON brought those realities to the attention of the world, at its virtual conference at the end of last year, when 300 nurses, from 43 countries came together to learn about these ongoing challenges of cancer nursing and care amidst the global reality of poverty, deprivation, famine, floods, war and environmental destruction.

The sad fact remains, many people across the world are still being diagnosed too late, with advanced and terminal cancer, unable to access treatments and, therefore, not surviving.

The world continues to be an unfair and unjust place. Greater equity and inclusion was also an important theme at the UK Oncology Nursing Society (UKONS) annual conference in Wales.

‘Every nurse working in the field of cancer counts and makes a difference, just as, every person with cancer needs to be heard’

More than 500 delegates learnt from fellow cancer nurses about listening, learning from and working with those whose voices are not always heard in health and social care: the older person, the child, the young person, the person living with a disability, while recognising the rich cultural diversity that exists around us.

Strong examples of greater inclusion in cancer nursing and cancer services exist, and we can creatively continue to build on this by working with the communities we serve to deliver cancer nursing and cancer services in settings that are welcoming places, accessible to all.

Every nurse working in the field of cancer counts and makes a difference, just as, every person with cancer needs to be heard.