GPON Newsletter - In union, there is strength

Global Power of Oncology Nursing (GPON) Conference - ‘United to Lead through Adversity’

Saturday 11th November 2023 07.00-11.00 (GMT) and 20.00-22.200 (GMT)

The Global Power of Oncology Nursing (GPON) Conference is a free, virtual and vibrant event, held annually as part of London Global Cancer Week, focusing on the remarkable work of nurses working in the field of cancer globally, in particular those nurses in low and middle income countries (LMIC). Nurses come together in a safe and dynamic space to, recognise and celebrate diversity, ensure more inclusive health care practice, learn about inspirational and innovative approaches to nursing care, share stories, engage in discussions and debates, celebrating nursing practice, education and research. Many of the presenters live and work in LMIC and have been affected by natural and humanity-made disasters. Colleagues will speak about creative solutions to improve cancer care where access to healthcare is often poor or lacking. Nurses working with their colleagues continue to make an important difference to supporting people living with cancer. Come and join us for this lively global event.

GPON Announces New Steering Committee Members:

The Global Power of Oncology Nursing is pleased to announce that our steering and advisory committees have grown this year, now including the active participation of members from 15 countries across the globe. Our newest members of the steering group include:

Meiya Lai
MSc, BSc, RN Oncology nurse at Shenzhen Baoan People’s Hospital, China

Barry Quinn
PhD, MSc, PGC Teach, BD, Bacc Phil RN Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor Queen’s University Belfast, UK/Mohammed Bin Rashid University, Dubai, UAE

Dilnasheen Safdar
RN, RM, BScN, EMBA Hospital management, DHIPC, MscN(candidate)Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the National Institute of blood diseases and bone marrow transplantation, Nurse Educationalist /IC Auditor, Visiting Nurse consultant pediatric hematology at the University of Child health and Children Hospital Lahore, Pakistan

Shievon Smith
DipHE nursing, BSc (Hons), RN. Macmillan Personalised Care Lead. East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. Lister Hospital, Stevenage, UK.


The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer –– held their annual conference in Nara, Japan at the end of June 2023, alongside their Affiliate organisation, Japanese Association of Supportive Care in Cancer – JASCC. 

Often perceived as the raison d’etre of oncology nurses, supportive care is the prevention and management of physical and psychological symptoms and side effects of cancer and of cancer treatment across the span of the continuum of care. Enhancing rehabilitation, secondary cancer prevention, survivorship, and end-of-life care are integral to supportive care.

There were similarities to GPON – felt very much like a family. Great collaboration and cooperation  – to improve the patients’ and peoples’ lot e.g.

  • Huge energy from members
  • Participants embracing and listening to the views of all colleagues -huge respect shown
  • Outstanding supportive care research
  • MASCC staff – excellent and efficiently run by own MASCC staff – just like GPON!
  • Excellent symptomatic care – study groups publishing great work
  • Disparities Group, starting to focus on countries with low human development (HDI) scores; however, there are more similarities than differences between high and how HDI countries. GPON is supporting MASCC in this space
  • Face to face conferences – expensive and a barrier to many; however, there were opportunities for competitive travel fellowships. GPON and ISNCC member, Naomi Oyoe Ohene Oti, was awarded a travel fellowship from Accra to Nara!


For those not able to be in Japan for MASCC2023, MASCC hopes to hold a virtual ‘Best of MASCC’ – UK time zone within the next few months – we will keep you posted.

Breathe Easy. Live a Life Free of Tobacco and Vaping!

On World No Tobacco Day (31 May), the international childhood cancer community comes together to highlight the importance of prevention, reduction and cessation of tobacco use and exposure among childhood cancer survivors and caregivers. The risk of a second primary cancer is 3-6x higher in childhood cancer survivors and second-hand smoke is responsible for 65,000 premature and preventable deaths in children under 15 years each year.

As non-state actors in official relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), we support all efforts to raise awareness of the major health risks associated with chewing tobacco, cigarette and e-cigarette smoke throughout active cancer treatment, recovery, and survivorship.

The SIOP Tobacco Advocacy Task Force is collaborating with PAHO and CCI to accelerate the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in the paediatric cancer sector. We have launched a pilot project focused on India and Latin America, to better understand the true impact of tobacco in these regions in young survivors and caregivers, and to promote the voices of childhood cancer survivor advocates to make a difference in their communities.

Together, we will improve childhood cancer outcomes globally.

SIOP Image

Julia Challinor, Secretary General of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) and GPON Steering Committee member shares the 2023 World Tobacco Day statement from SIOP. Feel free to share and raise awareness about tobacco use in our oncology patient and family communities.

GPON Response to the Earthquake in Turkiye

Nearly 50,000 people lost their lives in Türkiye due to magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes that struck on Feb. 6, according to official reports. The impact of these massive quakes has been extensive, affecting over 13.5 million individuals across ten cities in the eastern part of Türkiye.

The earthquakes have had a significant impact on Türkiye’s healthcare system, causing severe damage to hospitals and health clinics in the affected regions. As a result, there is a shortage of medical facilities to cater to the needs of the injured and displaced population. Moreover, the loss of power, water, and communication systems has further complicated the response efforts of the healthcare system. In order to address this situation, hospitalized patients from the earthquake area have been relocated to other cities. In a commendable move, cancer professional societies and some private hospitals have offered free transportation and treatment in major cities for cancer patients undergoing active chemotherapy or other therapies. The Turkish Cancer Association swiftly established a 24/7 helpline on the first day of the earthquake to facilitate easy communication between earthquake victims and the association. This helpline has already been utilized by more than 1,000 patients.

The Government and various NGOs are working diligently to meet the housing needs of the victims, although it has not reached the desired level yet. It is foreseeable that these negative experiences will lead to issues such as delayed early diagnosis, treatment, and insufficient supportive care, along with general health problems in the future. The loss of hospitals and weakened infrastructure pose long-term challenges that will necessitate significant investment.

In light of the situation, Gülcan Bagcivan, a member of the GPON steering committee, reached out to the Turkish Oncology Nursing Society Board to inquire about the needs that GPON can address or contribute to in support of Turkish cancer nurses. It was proposed that future webinars or educational activities could be organized in collaboration with GPON to provide guidance on coping with the long-term effects of this crisis for cancer nurses. During the GPON 2023 annual meeting, a Turkish cancer nurse from the earthquake-affected area will be present to share their experiences regarding the care of cancer patients during and after the earthquake.

Empowerment of Nurses from LMIC

In Pakistan, annually, approximately 8000 children – under the age of 18 years – are diagnosed with cancer. At present, there are only 13 centers for pediatric cancer care. Pakistan is in a vulnerable position; approximately 50% children have no access to cancer treatment and 70% do not complete treatment. Pakistan has low cancer survival rate – between 20 to 25% – while in the developed world 80% of children survive. Pakistan plans to achieve 70% childhood cancer survival by 2030.

Pediatric oncology nursing was introduced in Pakistan in 2011. There is a dearth of nurses in particular oncology certified nurses with a nurse : patient ratio of 1:313. Nurses are clearly overworked and generally do not have the opportunity to enhance knowledge and skills in their specialty. The main role of nurses in the field of oncology is chemotherapy administration which is a sensitive domain due to adverse consequences for patients, staff and environment if part of the process goes wrong. In the majority of the oncology units in Pakistan, chemotherapy is prepared, administered by oncology nurses alongside supportive care medication. Nurses are thus responsible for the complete chemotherapy process.

I was offered the opportunity to participate in GPON 2022 conference as a speaker. I felt empowered. Myself and many other nurses caring for of pediatric patients in Pakistan learned about the challenges and solutions in cancer care globally from which we could benefit.

I found GPON to be ‘a revolution’ in my life. I won GPON Master of Nursing Award 2022 and was selected as steering committee member 2023. All these factors boosted my morale which has an impact on my professional life and those of my colleagues. I am very grateful to GPON for improving pediatric oncology nursing in low resource countries. In the future, I plan to join with GPON in a training program for pediatric cancer care.

My personal vision and mission is to “Make every cancer child comfortable and have satisfied parents with regards to the nursing care in Pakistan”

Dilnasheen Safdar

Dilnasheen Safdar

RN, RM, BScN, EMBA, DHIPC, MscN(candidate) Dir IPC at National Institute of Blood Disease & BMT, Nurse Consultant Hem-Onco University of child health Lahore Pakistan

La Enfermería Oncológica en México

Lucia Robles

Lucia Robles

Nurse Specialist in Oncology National Institute of Cancerology Mexico, Outpatient Chemotherapy service. Mexico

La Enfermería Oncológica es una especialidad de la enfermería que se enfoca en la atención integral del paciente con cáncer y su familia en las distintas etapas de evolución de la enfermedad con base en la aplicación del proceso de atención enfermería. En México, la Enfermería Oncológica es muy importante debido al aumento en la incidencia, prevalencia y mortalidad de las enfermedades crónicas degenerativas, en particular en tumores.

El Instituto Nacional de Cancerología es un organismo descentralizado de tercer nivel, dependiente de la Secretaria de Salud; que brinda atención médica especializada a enfermos oncológicos siendo además un centro de referencia y órgano rector del cáncer en México.

Oral Care in Cancer

For many years, there has been a considerable focus in the United Kingdom and across Europe on the impact of cancer, cancer treatments and co-morbidities on people’s oral health. Evidence clearly shows that important clinical steps can be taken to reduce and/or minimise the severity of oral symptoms in the cancer setting by taking a more proactive approach to this aspect of care (Quinn et al 2020)

Mindful of the work of GPON, I was recently asked to present a paper at the UK Oncology Forum on the global picture of oral health in the cancer setting. Oral diseases, including 380 000 new cases of oral cancer each year, are among the most common noncommunicable diseases worldwide (World Health Organisation (WHO) 2022). Forty five percent of the world’s population (3.5 billion people) suffer from oral diseases, however, oral diseases disproportionately affect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations (WHO 2022).
Three out of every four people affected by oral malignant and non-malignant disease are living in low-and middle-income countries (Global Oral Health Status Report 2022).

During the meeting the UK and European Oral Care in Cancer Group agreed to reach out to GPON and oncology colleagues from low and middle income countries about the possibility of working together to adapt the principles of the current European and UK oral care in cancer guidance for national regional use.

Barry Quinn

Barry Quinn

PhD, MSc, PGC Teach, BD, Bacc Phil RN Senior Lecturer/Associate Professor Queen's University Belfast, UK/Mohammed Bin Rashid University, Dubai, UAE