War in Ukraine: Current and future impacts on the Polish cancer care system

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Published: 28 Apr 2022
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Prof Jacek Jassem - Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland

The invasion by Russia of Ukraine on the 24th February 2022 has created a massive humanitarian crisis for Ukraine and Europe generating huge challenges for cancer and palliative care. As of the 1st May some 12-13 million Ukrainian citizens were still trapped in active conflict zones, nearly 8 million had become internally displaced, mostly to the West, and nearly 6 million had left to become refugees.

In support of the WHO Ukraine Cancer Emergency Response and the ECO-ASCO Special Network: Impact of the War in Ukraine on Cancer ecancer has commissioned a special set of interviews with some of the key actors in the cancer humanitarian response both within and outside Ukraine.

This first set of interviews, conducted some 2 months into the conflict, serve both as sources of on-the-ground experience and as living witness and testament to the extraordinary work of doctors, patient organisations, professional groups and UN agencies such as WHO in their efforts to adapt to the many challenges.


Prof Richard Sullivan (Kings College London, London, UK) and Prof Jacek Jassem (Medical University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk, Poland) discuss the impact of the war in Ukraine on cancer.

They start by Prof Jassem giving some background on what the Polish cancer care system was like pre 24th February, before moving on to discuss how the war has impacted the system in Poland as the country has taken the largest amount of refugees to date.

Prof Sullivan concludes by asking Prof Jassem about what some of the key issues might be moving forward and if they are currently able to make any preparations.

You can read more about the Special Network here and here