AMR – a major threat to cancer care

Over the last decades, there has been substantial progress in cancer care, with key advances across the core pillars of surgery, radiotherapy and medicines. However, the significant and growing threat of drug-resistant bacteria can undermine all these efforts.  

Ulrika Årehed Kågström
Secretary-General Ulrika Årehed Kågström. 

Today it is estimated that at least one of five cancer patients need antibiotics during their treatment. The consequences for cancer treatment when antibiotics are no longer effective against resistant bacteria is serious because people living with cancer rely on antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of infections. 

Today, the threat of AMR is a major issue that needs to be urgently addressed to ensure cancer control.  

Whether it is for surgery, chemotherapy or stem cell transplants, the availability of antibiotics is crucial for cancer care outcomes. Today, the threat of antimicrobial resistance, AMR, is a major issue that needs to be urgently addressed to ensure cancer control.  

Antibiotic resistance spreads across borders, and efforts to address it must therefore be conducted both nationally and globally. The Swedish Cancer society are actively engaged in the importance of spreading awareness at the national  level as well as advocating for the threat of antimicrobial resistance to be put high on the international political agenda.  

Ensuring access to effective antibiotics largely depend on global efforts in slowing down the development of resistant bacteria and developing new antibiotics.

Therefore, we must strengthen an already  huge international commitment regarding antibiotic resistance, and ensure everyone's right to effective antibiotics by working parallel in three areas:  

  1. Advocacy- Ensuring that the issue of addressing AMR for better cancer care outcomes is high on the global health agenda.  
  2. Engagement of the Health Workforce - Health care personnel are leaders in addressing this issue and have an active role in promoting attention to AMR, ensuring the appropriate use of medicines and strong infection control practice in medical settings, as well as provide key input to national policy on AMR. 
  3. Ensuring access to treatment - Prioritizing access to and rational use of antimicrobials and ensuring access to diagnostics. 

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