IBM – how technology can support cancer registries

UICC is pleased to count IBM as a partner of our Champions programme as of early this year.

With over 9,000 employees dedicated to healthcare, 40 innovation centres, 80 research and development labs, with 600+ healthcare related patents and 60+ medical doctors, IBM is focused on helping the global healthcare sector to address their challenges in accessing, collecting and translating information and data. 

IBM continues to invest and support its partnership with UICC, and attended our latest Global Roundtable on Cancer Registries (see article below). As a positive outcome, IBM has committed resources to support the cancer registries analysis and agenda worldwide, and is looking forward to further enabling the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR).

Mr David A. Kerr, Director, Watson for Healthcare, IBM Corporate Strategy, stated at the roundtable event: “Technology plays an important role, but just helping to deliver the data doesn’t offer a great deal of value, unless you can actually use it and leverage the knowledge that is embedded in the data. This is why it is important to invest in understanding the value of data and how it can be interpreted.”

Global Roundtables - Transforming our knowledge of cancer

On 11th June 2013, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), IARC and UICC co-hosted a global roundtable in Geneva that brought together key players from the private and public sectors to discuss how to expand the capacity in building efficiency and outputs on cancer registries, with a special focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

The key messages were:

  • High-quality incidence and mortality data are vital, as it enables governments to develop effective policies for cancer control.
  • Since its launch 18 months ago, the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry programme has already enabled the development of regional hubs in India, Sub-Saharan Africa and later this year, Turkey.
  • Having the right people in place to capture, interpret and use the data and systems is vital, hence a strong need for training and education.
  • Public-private partnerships do work but it is time to move forward with clear objectives that combine training, technical and scientific support, coordinating and influencing the development of research and advocacy.

Dr David Forman, Head, Section of Cancer Information, IARC, concluded: “There are many elements to capacity building for cancer registries, not least the training of staff - which is a critical step in all of this. It is important to have sources of data, to be able to capture and record it, but unless you have the staff who understand that information, you are never going to make progress.”

The full report from the event is available online here.

From word to action… to make a real and sustainable impact in cancer information in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next few years, we aim to raise approximately $5.5 million by the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, in November 2013. We need your support! So watch this space…