Welcome from the IPOS President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


On behalf of the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) it is my pleasure to welcome you to the 19th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology and Psychosocial Academy, which will be held in Berlin, Germany, August 14-18th. The congress theme “Cancer throughout the Lifespan – addressing the psychosocial needs of diverse populations” will focus on particularly exciting developments in psychosocial oncology as it relates to education, research, clinical practice and policy from cancer prevention to end of life care. This Congress is an opportunity for professionals working in cancer services to share and learn about cutting-edge research and best practices in the field of Psycho-oncology. We welcome delegates from all over the globe to come together to collaborate, share and learn.

As well, our IPOS Psychosocial Academy held as part of our congress provides the opportunity to improve clinical and scientific skills and advance our knowledge in specific psychosocial domains. We are specifically pleased that there will be many scientific events, particularly for early career researchers and young scientists.

IPOS continues to advocate for the adoption of our Standard of Quality in Cancer Care and Clinical Practice Guidelines which state: (i) Psychosocial cancer care should be recognized as a universal human right; (ii) Quality cancer care must integrate the psychosocial domain into routine care; (iii) Distress should be measured as the sixth vital sign. As your IPOS President, I am proud to say, that to date, over 75 organizations and societies worldwide have endorsed our IPOS standards.

By coming together we help further our effort towards ensuring psychosocial cancer care is recognized as a universal human right. This conference draws psychosocial oncology world leaders together; leaders like yourself who are passionate and committed to advancing psycho-oncology research, building capacity for cancer support services and ensure the highest levels of standardized clinical practice care.  Please take this opportunity to build your networks so we can support your efforts.

As a society we are committed to fostering integration and implementation of psychosocial care globally. To further IPOS educational and training efforts particularly in developing regions and countries, we are proud to have been re-appointed to continue our official relations with the WHO. Also IPOS has just become a member of the European Cancer Organization (ECCO), which places us in the center of the discussion of best practices and policies in Europe along with main societies and organizations. However, much work still needs to be done to ensure we continue to facilitate the development of strong, sustainable psycho-oncology programs around the world.  I encourage you to get involved by joining our Societies, Committees, Special Interest Groups and Task Forces. Together our efforts are improving the quality of life for those affected by cancer.

With my deepest gratitude and best wishes,

Luzia Travado

IPOS President

Welcome from the German Federal Minister of Health

Source: BMG/Jochen Zick

Each year, almost 500,000 persons in our country are told that they have cancer. This is a disease that can strike anyone: adults, young people and children.

For the individual patient, the devastating cancer diagnosis, alongside the fears that it evokes, means an exhausting course of treatment to fight the disease. For health policy, 500,000 new cases a year means that must persevere in our efforts to find the best possible care for persons with cancer.

One important foundation for improving the treatment of such patients even further is the National Cancer Plan. The National Cancer Plan was initiated by the German Cancer Society, German Cancer Aid and the Joint Working Group of German Tumour Centres, jointly with the Federal Ministry of Health, in 2008. With the National Cancer Plan, we work towards further developing early detection measures for cancer and towards achieving long-term improvements in care for cancer patients. The clinical cancer registries, in particular, supply a great deal of information on the diagnosis, treatment and clinical course of cancer in patients, thereby creating the foundation for further improvements in cancer care.

Alongside good forms of treatment, people who have to come to terms with the diagnosis of cancer also need very personal support. It is not only the physical strain that makes it difficult for them to cope; the emotional strain is just as great. The possibility of having access to psycho-oncological or psychosocial counselling and care is therefore of inestimable value both for the affected person and his/her relatives. Indeed, it is through such opportunities that they discover the kinds of support available to them. They receive information on the services and assistance available nearby or, if necessary, even further afield.

In addition, the persons responsible for providing psycho-oncological and psychosocial counselling advise relatives on healthcare issues, for example, in cases where a return to working life is an option or where palliative care is unavoidable.

The 19th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology – that is being held for the second time in Germany – around the theme "Cancer throughout the Lifespan – Addressing the psychosocial needs of diverse populations” will be looking into the high significance that psychosocial care has for persons who have to live with cancer.

This Congress therefore contributes to ensuring that psycho-oncological and psychosocial counselling continues to advance at a qualitatively high standard. I wish you, the participants of this year's World Congress of Psycho-Oncology, stimulating talks and interesting discussions and, in every respect, a successful event.

Hermann Gröhe

Welcome from the Secretary-General German Cancer Society

Bild: Georg Roither

Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,


Cancer patients are confronted with a multitude of burdens – the diagnosis may mark an important turning point in the patient’s life, associated with the loss of normality, a radical change in life and career planning. Feelings of fear, uncertainty, anger, stress and anxiety can be the result. According to international studies, about one third of all cancer patients suffer from psychological stress; 40 percent are struggling with social problems, such as financial constraints or obstacles when trying to get back to work. Thus, psychosocial care, in addition to high-quality medical care, makes a significant contribution to a better quality of life of cancer patients.


The German Cancer Society has a long-standing commitment to the integration of psycho-oncology into routine cancer care. In our certified cancer centers, access to psychosocial care is an important criterion of quality. Together with the German Working Community for Psychosocial Oncology (dapo) and the Psycho-Oncology Workgroup (PSO) within our organization, we have developed criteria for continuing education in psycho-oncology. Moreover, the cancer societies, which are active under the umbrella of the German Cancer Society in all 16 German federal states, conduct more than 61,000 psychosocial consultations with cancer patients and their relatives annually.


The need for psychosocial care is great and it will continue to rise. In the course of our work, we have learned that it is important to provide targeted offerings to meet the needs of different groups of patients. Young cancer patients may have other concerns than older ones, patients with metastatic cancer and their caregivers ask other questions than those who have just finished primary therapy. I am therefore very happy that this year’s meeting takes up and discusses the psychosocial needs of diverse populations. I wish you an informative meeting, many stimulating discussions and a pleasant stay in Berlin.


Dr. Johannes Bruns

Secretary-General German Cancer Society

Welcome from the Chairman of the Board of German Cancer Aid

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

Cancer – most people are totally unprepared for this diagnosis. All goals in life, all problems and values are suddenly called into question. Not only physical well-being is impaired. Mental equilibrium may also be lost; confidence and safety are replaced by fear, helplessness and loss of control. The disease leads to major changes in everyday life – often for a long period. Family, work and the social environment are involved and subjected to great stress. This means that cancer patients do not only need the best possible medical therapy, but spiritual and social support that is specific to the phase of their disease.

Psycho-oncological care is of the greatest importance for German Cancer Aid. In recent years, we have made
every effort to ensure that this is an issue in the discussions related to the National Cancer Plan – particularly
as there is no adequate fixed financial support. We have set the specific objective that the necessary psychooncological care should be provided for inpatients and outpatients. It is right and proper that this was a focal point of the discussion on health politics during the Second National Cancer Conference in Berlin in May 2017.

The objective of German Cancer Aid is that high quality individualised psycho-oncological care should be available to all patients throughout the country. We haven’t achieved this yet, although there certainly has been progress in recent years in the inpatient sector and gaps have been filled. To some extent, this is due to the model projects which have been initiated since the 1980s. Professional psycho-oncological advice and support is now provided by many acute and follow-up clinics for oncology. In accordance with the certification criteria of the German Cancer Association and German Cancer Aid, these are among the requirements for oncology centres of excellence, oncology centres and organ cancer centres. However, the inpatient structures are quite disparate, as there is no adequate fixed financial support. Patients do not receive the best possible care in all centres. German Cancer Aid considers that there is an urgent need for action here. When they need psychosocial care, outpatients first come into contact with practising physicians, cancer advisory offices, selfhelp groups and psychotherapists. They all help the patient to come to grips with the problems of daily life. In particular, psychosocial advisory offices offer their help. But these important structures do not cover all areas of the country as required, and do not receive fixed financial support.

10 years ago, German Cancer Aid set itself the objective of providing fixed financial support for these. We then initiated the extensive program on “Psychosocial Cancer Advisory Offices”. Current discussions and initiatives in health politics indicate that this is no longer an unrealistic goal. Nevertheless, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to health politicians to ensure that there is adequate psycho-oncological care to fulfil the needs in our country. German Cancer Aid will continue to make every effort to support psycho-oncology – by continuing to support projects and by political pressure.

I am delighted that this important congress is now being held in Germany for the second time. This underlines the significance of psycho-oncology. I am sure that you will receive important impulses during the congress for psycho-oncological research and care and will extend your knowledge. I hope that you will have an exciting congress, with interesting lectures and a lively exchange of views.


Gerd Nettekoven
Chairman of the Board of
German Cancer Aid

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