Over the last decades, there has been significant progress in cancer care, with key advances across the core pillars of surgery, radiotherapy and medicines, including new immunotherapy agents. We are saving more lives from cancer than ever before. However, this progress is all at risk due to the significant and growing threat of drug-resistant bacteria. People with cancer are more susceptible to hospital acquired infections due to the lowering of their immune defences. In particular, pneumonia and sepsis are among the most frequent causes of admission to intensive care units for cancer patients and it is estimated that 8.5% of cancer deaths are due to severe sepsis.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing public health issue that needs urgent attention in countries around the world. Infections become drug-resistant when the bacteria that cause them adapt and change over time, developing the ability to resist the drugs designed to kill them. The result is that many drugs – like antibiotics – are becoming less effective at treating illnesses. Our overuse of antibiotics in both humans and animals is speeding up this process. Without working antibiotics, routine surgery and lifesaving treatments like chemotherapy, can become life-threatening. It is estimated that at least 700,000 people die each year from drug-resistant infections and this is set to increase to 10 million by 2050 if we do not take action now.
Held in conjunction with World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) and offered in occasion with London Global Cancer Week, this second Special Focus Dialogue dedicated to AMR aimed to raise awareness on the issue and ensure it is a high priority in the global oncology agenda.
This session is a collaboration of UICC with the Wellcome Trust.
Sonali Johnson, Director, Knowledge, Advocacy and Policy, Union for International Cancer Control (Chair)
Abdul Ghafur, Consultant and Adjunct Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology, Apollo Hospitals, India