Climate Change and Cancer Care: A Policy Statement From ASCO

There is incontrovertible and increasing evidence that the changing climate because of the production and burning of fossil fuels has impact on health care delivery and outcomes around the world. Recently, global publications and professional medical societies, including the American Medical Association, have called for action and declared climate change a public health crisis that threatens the health and well-being of all people.1 The intent of this statement is to affirm ASCO’s commitment to addressing the impact of climate change on cancer, with a focus on specific actions guided by our mission pillars of research, education, and quality toward improved cancer prevention, outcomes, and equitable cancer care across the globe.

ASCO represents almost 50,000 global physicians and other health care professionals specialized in cancer treatment, diagnosis, and prevention. ASCO members are dedicated to conducting research that leads to improved patient outcomes and are committed to ensuring that evidence-based practices for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer are equitably available to all patients. Therefore, ASCO supports efforts to reduce the uneven public health burden resulting from the changing climate and the burning of fossil fuels by advancing evidence-based policy and practice. In early 2022, ASCO joined the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health, an organization that convenes associations representing over 700,000 medical providers to amplify the message that climate change is having an impact on health and wellness and to pursue policies that achieve equitable solutions to promote better outcomes for all.

Amid growing concern of the potential for climate change to exacerbate widening cancer care inequities, this statement builds upon previously endorsed relevant ASCO policies including those on cancer disparities and health equity, cancer prevention, rural health, telemedicine, and skin cancer. ASCO intends to support the cancer community as we examine how to reduce the burden and impact of climate change on our patients and our professional work.