ASPIRE’s Official Launch Event held in Singapore

ASPIRE for Lung Cancer hosted its Official Launch Event on February 20, 2024 in Singapore, marking the beginning of collaborative efforts aimed at enhancing outcomes for lung cancer patients in the Asia-Pacific region.

We would like to extend our gratitude to Prof. Dorothy Keefe from Cancer Australia, Prof. Martin Wong from CUHK, and Mr. Norman Ng from Lung Cancer Patient Concern Group for sharing their valuable insights and expertise in lung cancer, paving the way for meaningful dialogues and collaborations.

Special thanks to Prof. Herbert Loong and Dr. Daniel Tan from APCLC for joining us, and we look forward to synergizing efforts to contribute to our shared goals.

We are grateful for the fantastic turnout at our event and are excited to embark on this endeavour with like-minded individuals to drive positive change.

For more information, we have included some presentation highlights below.

Kicking off the Event launch, Will Brown, ASPIRE Director, provided an overview of ASPIRE for Lung Cancer, emphasizing its collaborative multilateral effort aimed at improving lung cancer outcomes in the Asia-Pacific region. ASPIRE's mission to advocate for the prioritization of lung cancer in government action plans to drive transformative changes in patient access and care was highlighted. Following this introduction, brief addresses were delivered by representatives from each founding member, sharing their reasons for joining ASPIRE and their aspirations for its achievements.

Judy Li, ASPIRE Manager, then outlined ASPIRE’s nine Charter pillars, starting with political action and funding, with the aim of enhancing patient access and care. A high-level 5-year roadmap was unveiled, articulating the consortium’s goals for lasting policy change and intervention implementation. Multi-lateral engagement was underscored as a central theme in ASPIRE’s endeavors, emphasizing advocacy with a unified voice to catalyze action.

A special address was provided by Prof. Herbert Loong, Asia Pacific Coalition against Lung Cancer (APCLC), introducing APCLC and outlining its vision, mission, key objectives, and roadmap. Established in 2023, APCLC comprises leading clinicians and researchers from across the Asia Pacific region, primarily focusing on prevention, early detection, and screening. The address concluded with an expression of commitment to collaborate with stakeholders such as ASPIRE to synergize efforts and jointly contribute to shared goals.

Prof. Dorothy Keefe, Cancer Australia, shed light on the Australian National Lung Cancer Screening Program’s implementation, a pioneering initiative in the APAC region. Initiated in 2019, it was driven by the recognition of the urgent need to address lung cancer risks among Indigenous and rural/remote populations (e.g., vast disparities in smoking rates). This initiative expanded nationwide, propelled by a series of success factors including meticulous planning, co-design principles, comprehensive workforce engagement, infrastructure assessment, and screening protocol development. Efforts culminated in the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care announcing a $264 million allocation for the program in 2023, demonstrating government commitment and ensuring financial sustainability for implementation.

The necessity of government-funded lung cancer screening and treatment programs in the Asia Pacific region was also addressed by Prof. Martin CS Wong, The JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, CUHK. Emphasis was placed on addressing various risk factors beyond smoking, advocating for a comprehensive screening approach. Case studies on successful government-funded screening programs in Taiwan and South Korea were cited. In Taiwan, the government-funded screening program, which targets high-risk groups beyond heavy smokers, has yielded significant results, with over 85% of confirmed cases diagnosed at early stages.

Mr. Norman Ng, Lung Cancer Patient Concern Group (Hong Kong) shared his journey as a lung cancer patient, underscoring the need for comprehensive support from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. This belief led to the establishment of a new Lung Cancer Patient Concern Group in Hong Kong, dedicated to advocating for improved screening methods using low-dose CT, biomarkers, diagnostics, treatment options, and psychosocial care. Their mission reaffirms the importance of comprehensive care for lung cancer patients.

A Q&A session involving all attendees and moderated by Will Brown, ASPIRE Director, concluded the event, followed by closing remarks. These reinforced several key points regarding ASPIRE’s role and goals:
  • ASPIRE's role as a platform uniting diverse stakeholders in lung cancer advocacy across Asia Pacific, coordinating efforts and optimizing resource utilization to maximize impact
  • ‘Collaboration’ is central to ASPIRE’s mission, aiming to advance its collective policy agenda
  • ASPIRE's commitment to improving the burden of lung cancer and enhancing patient outcomes
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