C8 - Let’s beat cancer sooner – Turning discovery into health

Auditorium 2

Organised by the FIP Community Pharmacy Section in collaboration with FIP’s Industrial Pharmacy Section


Forum Jalundhwala, FIP Industrial Pharmacy Section, India and Sari Westermarck, Healthcare Pharmacy, Finland


Obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking in many countries. Research shows that only 15% of the public are aware of the link.

Obesity is such the second biggest preventable cause of cancer in for example the UK – more than 1 in 20 cancer cases are caused by excess weight

The risk is higher the more weight a person gains and the longer they are overweight. The good news is small changes that are kept up over time can make a real difference.

Being overweight doesn’t mean that someone will definitely develop cancer. But if a person is overweight they are more likely to get cancer than if they are a healthy weight. Extra fat in the body doesn’t just sit there, it’s active, sending out signals to the rest of your body. These signals can tell cells in our body to divide more often, which can lead to cancer.

What types of cancer are caused by obesity?

Breast (in women after the menopause), bowel, womb, oesophageal (food pipe), pancreatic, kidney, liver, upper stomach (gastric cardia), gallbladder, ovarian, thyroid, myeloma (a type of blood cancer), and meningioma (a type of brain tumour). This includes 2 of the most common types of cancer – breast and bowel cancers – and 3 of the hardest to treat – pancreatic, oesophageal and gallbladder cancers.

A person’s risk of cancer depends on lots of different factors, including things you can’t change like your age and genes. Other things that can cause cancer, whether that’s obesity, tobacco or the sun, increase a person’s risk of cancer, but do not mean that person will definitely develop cancer. But when we look at a whole population, these lifestyle factors cause more people to develop cancer.

To help alleviate the burden malignancy imposes on our health care system, a shift toward early cancer detection is also necessary. Pharmacists are well positioned and willing to assume a more active role in cancer surveillance. Patients are receptive to pharmacist involvement and seem to prefer a convenient community pharmacy–based location for screening programs. The community pharmacist’s current and potential role in cancer will be highlighted in this session, as well as new innovative therapies for cancer treatment.

Over the last decade, significant advances have been achieved in cancer outcomes, bringing the average 5-year relative survival rate across all cancer types in Europe to 54% for cancers diagnosed between 2000 and 2007 up from 51.5% in 2000-2002. For European patients diagnosed in 2012, over 66,000 more will live for at least 5 years after diagnosis compared with if they had been diagnosed a decade earlier. While continued improvement in diagnosis and treatment delivery have certainly played their part, so too has the availability of a new generation of targeted treatments.

The promise of major advances in the treatment of cancer has never been greater, with promising developments in immunotherapy and combination treatments, reflecting the intensive investment that academia and industry have made in the discovery and development of new approaches to the treatment of all forms of cancer and the investments that continue to be made by health systems to improve access, screening and early diagnosis.


  1. Introduction by the chairs
  2. What is cancer?
    Juan Antonio Virizuela, Hospital Quirón Sagrado Corazón, Spain
  3. Design and discovery of new cancer therapy
    Stephan Scherer. Global Head Experimental Medicine GSK, USA
  4. A brighter future is on the horizon
    Don Mager, University at Buffalo, USA
  5. Community pharmacy’s role in supporting oncology patients
    Marko Skelin, General Hospital of Sibenik, Croatia
  6. Question and answers

Learning Objectives

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the role of pharmacy in cancer prevention and treatment of cancer
  2. Explore the value of having patients involved in the development of new medicines
  3. Understand the impact of new innovative cancer therapies
  4. Embrace the need for continuing education for pharmacists and their evolving role regarding new medicines

Type of session: Knowledge-based