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On World Cancer Day – lets PERSIST, in order to Close the Care Gap

PERSIST consortium joins people and organizations worldwide in commemorating World Cancer Day on February 4. World Cancer Day 2022 is dedicated to the courage and achievements of people living with cancer and their families, as well as caregivers, health care providers, researchers, advocates, and other volunteers—and calls for everyone to join in helping to save lives.

Cancer awareness has become exceedingly important in the 21st century. While there have been numerous advancements in the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, the number of new cancer cases diagnosed each year has continued to increase globally. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if the incidence of cancer continues to grow at the reported rate, the number of deaths worldwide from cancer will increase to more than 16.3 million by 2040. Therefore, raising awareness of cancer prevention has become a prominent goal of many cancer and health organizations around the world, and World Cancer Day has come to represent an annual reaffirmation of the importance of this goal.

The prospects of major advances in tackling cancer have never been greater, and international collaboration and funding are essential in realizing these opportunities. By doing this, project PERSIST can transform the early detection, development of personal care plans, follow-up treatment, benefitting people with the disease both in Europe and around the world.

However, considerable challenges remain in the fight against cancer. Closing the care gaps in cancer treatment needs to be among the key collective priorities. We at project PERSIST are trying to address these issues and gaps; “The follow-up period is important because many patients experience long-term side effects that are not addressed properly” according to Dr. Matej Horvat, MD, PhD, Medical oncologist, Department of Oncology at University Medical Centre Maribor in Slovenia, who is a PERSIST consortium member. Other priorities set by our partners, which will be explored during the duration of the project are the improvement of the forecast of patients’ illness, by predicting individual trajectories and facilitation of timely medical interventions, early detection and improvement of patient counselling. All these goals to be achieved by the end of the project duration, with the help of AI and Big Data technologies. “Technology can be a lifesaver for thousands of people… We need a health data infrastructure, as well as artificial intelligence technologies, to facilitate the link between research, diagnosis and care.” Key elements outlined by President von der Leyen at Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan conference, and all incorporated within project PERSIST.

World Cancer Day is one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite together in the fights against the global cancer epidemic. Together we can make a difference; together we will stay health PERSISTent.

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