Information, Technology, and Society in Asia 128
Surviving Cancer in Asia 2023
The challenges surrounding the rapidly growing cancer rates in Asia reflect more than just medical concerns—they mirror the underlying structure and the state of society at large. As we strive for a sustainable society, the lessons we can learn from these challenges are pivotal. At the heart of this course is the BEAUTY project, an acronym for "Bringing Education And Understanding To You." This groundbreaking program harnesses the power of beauty professionals to foster community awareness about cancer. By integrating multiple sectors beyond just the medical realm, the project aligns with the goal of achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The BEAUTY project has already made notable strides, having produced educational materials in four languages. With a portal registry set to launch this fall, insights from the prior year illuminate the current state of cancer care in Malaysia. This project, termed Cross-boundary Cancer Studies, is rooted in an interdisciplinary exchange between Japan and Malaysia.
Against the backdrop of these challenges, we must ponder: What can we contribute? What steps can we take towards a sustainable system?
As was the case last year, this course will keep pace with the project's advancements. Expert consultations will be woven into the curriculum, and students will be encouraged to actively contribute fresh proposals to the project. The ultimate objective is to create a learning experience where students are not only absorbing knowledge but also proactively contributing to the betterment of society.
Positioning and Aims of the Course
This lecture course is multidisciplinary and aims to bring together students from various fields to learn about an issue that has tended previously to only be perceived from a specialist angle. By providing students with the opportunity to learn about matters outside their own area of specialization, the course aims to also provide an opportunity for students to relativize their own studies.
The field of cancer is one that has a high degree of specialization and it has not necessarily interacted well or been open to collaboration with other fields of study to date. This course aims to support the development of the next generation of experts who are adept at working in interdisciplinary environments and will be the driving force behind research in their various fields, based on the recognition that the role of a modern university is to create innovation in response to social issues.
Background and Significance of the Course
This groundbreaking multidisciplinary approach to learning aims to address issues relating to the common and ever-growing challenge of cancer in Asia, with reference to global policy concepts on Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
To date we have sought to contribute to enhancing international cancer research from an Asian perspective by comparing the characteristics of Asia to those of western countries. This lecture course is a part of these ongoing efforts.
The goals of UHC are to ensure that all people have access to high-quality health services, to protect all people from public health risks, and to protect all people from financial hardship due to out-of-pocket costs for health services and loss of income when they or a family member fall ill.
There are currently many initiatives and proposals for action in the international community that seek to achieve UHC, which has come to be recognized as a global policy agreement. The implementation of a UHC strategy requires the involvement of stakeholders, who have an influence on the design of and implementation of programs, including matters such as budgetary allocation and investment in healthcare practitioners. Programs and decisions made to date have largely been based on a response to primary care, predicated on a disease structure dominated by communicable diseases. However, it is projected that under current structures it is unlikely that healthcare systems will be able to cope with the tremendous socioeconomic burden caused by the rapidly increasing cases of cancer in Asia. The realization of UHC for cancer in Asia is therefore fraught with major challenges, as the immense costs arising from cancer care require countries to have robust financial and healthcare systems in place.
Despite the fact that thanks to advances in medicine many types of cancer are now highly treatable with good prospects for remission or cure, the fact remains that not everyone can have access to the latest treatment. Furthermore, even in countries where medical systems and care are highly advanced, difficult questions now have to be addressed about just how far treatment can be provided with limited medical resources. These facts amply demonstrate that both industrialized and developing countries share similar issues and that UHC for cancer can be perceived as a common global challenge. Cancer is characterized by the tremendous impact it has directly on the patient him/herself and those close to the patient. As societies continue to age, there has never been a time in the history of humankind when people have faced such a serious threat from disease. To realize a sustainable society in the future it is imperative for all people on the planet, regardless of socioeconomic status, to join together in creating knowledge and wisdom that will help the human race face and survive cancer.