SWITZERLAND — The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched the first global survey aimed at understanding and meeting the needs of cancer patients.

WHO in a statement said that the survey was part of a broader campaign, designed with and intended to amplify the voices of those affected by cancer survivors, caregivers, and the bereaved.

This will be covered by the World Health Organization’s Framework for Meaningful Engagement of People Living with Noncommunicable Diseases (PLWNCDs).

Cancer is a chronic, noncommunicable disease that affects one out of every five people. However, it also has an indirect impact on cancer patients’ family members and caregivers, an area that has received little attention, according to WHO.

For too long, the focus in cancer control has been on clinical care and not on the broader needs of people affected by cancer,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.

He added that “Global cancer policies must be shaped by more than data and scientific research, to include the voices and insight of people impacted by the disease.”

Recent studies have shown that nearly half of people diagnosed with cancer experience anxiety and loss of faith and may be abandoned by their intimate partners.

In low- and middle-income countries, financial hardship and loss of assets can be experienced by 70% or more of those affected.

Data from the survey will be used to launch a campaign to amplify the voices and experiences of those affected.

The survey results will also feed into the design of policies and programs to offer better well-being in the context of a cancer diagnosis and co-create solutions for the future.

WHO noted that “the needs and preferences of people with cancer and their caregivers remain unknown to many providers and policy-makers.”

The aim of the survey is to reach 100,000 people, particularly those in low-income areas to create policies.

There are four stages to the campaign: releasing the global survey, hosting national consultations, presenting best practices, and implementing community-led initiatives.

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