World Cancer Day 2017: Improving access to cancer care

Every year 14.1 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer1 and this is only expected to rise. Innovative treatments can help address this burden, but advances in medicine are only meaningful when they reach patients.

That’s why this World Cancer Day we are reaffirming our commitment to accelerating progress in patient access to cancer treatment through four key pillars.

  • Awareness of disease and symptoms is essential for screening and early detection.
  • Diagnosis of disease can be complex, but is vital to ensuring the right treatment choice is made.
  • Healthcare capacity requires trained teams working together with the right equipment to provide the best chance for successful treatment.
  • Funding is needed for investment in healthcare and reimbursement of medicines and tests in order that patients can be protected from financial burden.

We are committed to taking action in the fight against cancer, not just today, but every day throughout the year. It is our aim that every person who needs our products is able to access and benefit from them.

Access is a multidimensional challenge; there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution, so at a local country level we are committed to building broad collaborative approaches for each of these pillars, tailored to local needs, which open the door to sustainable and equitable access. Watch Peter Braun, our Head of Global Public Affairs, talk about what Roche is doing to improve access to healthcare:

Our contribution to World Cancer Day is part of a much bigger effort led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and hundreds of industry stakeholders as we work to bring people around the world together to accelerate progress. We are proud to partner with them this World Cancer Day. Taking place under the tagline ‘We can. I can.’, World Cancer Day 2016-2018 explores how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer.

By working together, we can make a difference to people’s health when and where they need it. 

Together we can inspire action, take action, and make a difference.

It is the people who make the difference – the faces behind each access programme, disease-awareness initiative or collaborative agreement. Here, two of them tell us how they hope to make a difference in the lives of those touched by cancer. 

We can help highlight the importance of disease awareness for breast cancer in Colombia. 2,200 Colombian women die of breast cancer each year.2 Establishing dedicated consulting rooms for women that provide disease awareness and diagnostics have meant that 132,000 women have been assessed, of which 800 have been diagnosed and treated.
Roche Colombia Patient Access team
I can help improve HER2-positive cancer diagnosis in Asia. Gastric and breast cancers are among the most common cancers in Asia and one in five people has HER2-positive cancer, meaning accurate testing is critical. Working in partnership with health community stakeholders to test at the point of diagnosis and to train pathologists and technicians has resulted in over 168,600 women with breast cancer and nearly 74,000 gastric cancer patients being tested across 13 countries.
Rob Walpole, Regional Business Manager, Roche Tissue Diagnostics, Asia Pacific

Learn more about our approach to access to healthcare:


1. WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer. GLOBOCAN 2015. [Online]. [Accessed January 2017].

2. Health Education and Support in Colombia. DEVEX Impact. Available at: [Accessed January 2017].

Tags: Patients