Equitable innovation: Transforming cancer care for all – programme launched

The preliminary programme has been launched for the 2nd Cancer Care Design 2024 International Symposium, which is being held on 27 February at the Royal College of Physicians at the Spine in Liverpool. Study tours to benchmark new cancer centres will take place on both 26 February and 28 February.

Early bird registration has been extended until 16 February – book your place here. We’re delighted to invite delegates and sponsors to contribute to and stimulate a new dialogue on the future of cancer care by design.

Cancer is a devastating disease, impacting individuals, families, communities and health systems across the world, and costing the world economy an estimated US$1.6 trillion and the European Union an estimated €170 billion.

In the last 50 years, advances in life-saving cancer research and new treatments have helped to double cancer survival rates, yet still 10m people die from cancer globally undefined - undefinedevery year, including 150,000 deaths in the UK alone.

As populations grow and age, overall cancer incidence is set to rise by more than a third in the UK by 2038-40, raising the pressure to implement long-term, strategic plans across the cancer pathway that focuses on prevention, reducing latestage disease, and introducing the latest treatments to all.

Innovation and scientific advances, which have transformed the cancer landscape over the last ten years, are set to further accelerate. While chemotherapies, radiotherapies, and surgery have successfully characterised the battle against cancer for decades, new advancements since the rise of personalised treatments and precision medicine, including targeted therapies, are transforming both outcomes and the patient experience.


From pioneering immunotherapy and cell therapy research, such as such as CAR-T, the development of genomic and personalised medicine, to next-generation cancer organoids, nanomedicine and artificial intelligence (AI) in oncology, we are in a transformative era of cancer research, with remarkable innovations paving the way for breakthrough treatments.

At the same time, there is ever greater recognition and implementation of the value of social innovation rooted in communities through new forms of advocacy, destigmatisation, patient empowerment, survivor networks, and public health education. Alongside organisational innovations, a shift towards people-centred health and community-based interventions is creating meaningful benefit to patients and families.

Every stage of a patient’s cancer journey, from diagnosis and treatment to learning how to live with cancer and survivorship, can create new fears, anxieties and stress for both patients and family members. Health professionals and caregivers working in cancer care environments also experience huge stresses and emotions. The settings and facilities in which cancer care is provided need therefore to offer a humanistic and supportive environment where wellbeing, dignity and comfort are embraced in the design to reduce physical, psychological and emotional stresses, and positively influence the patient, family and staff experience.

Providing access to outdoor spaces and views to nature, maximising daylight, natural ventilation and air quality, incorporating natural materials and a thoughtful approach to interior design and art, can ensure a calm, empathetic environment, at the same time as providing distraction and inspiration. And non-clinical support spaces for consultation, social support and rest can provide the patient and family members with a sense of dignity, choice, control and meaning in their journey.

Organised by European Healthcare Design and streamed on SALUS TV in collaboration with leading international partners from research, practice and policy, the 2nd Cancer Care Design 2024 International Symposium aims to share international knowledge on the future design and development of cancer care services, technology, settings and infrastructure.