EONS Position Statement: The role of cancer nurses in the world

    The Asian Oncology Nursing Society (AONS), Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (CANO/ACIO), Cancer Nurses Society of Australia (CNSA), European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS), International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC), and Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) have developed a new position statement on The Role of Cancer Nurses in the World in honour of World Cancer Day 2015.

    Nurses play an important role in addressing the health priorities of societies around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that annual cancer cases will rise from 14 million in 2012 to 22 million in 2032 (1). The growing demand for cancer care, from prevention to palliative care, along with rapidly changing healthcare systems provides opportunities for cancer nurses to play a pivotal and increasingly important role in delivering high quality, safe, effective and efficient healthcare to people affected by, or at risk for, cancer. As the largest group of healthcare providers globally, in most countries around the world nurses are the backbone of the health care delivery system.

    High quality care across the cancer continuum requires nurses be properly educated to gain knowledge, skills, and competencies unique to cancer care. Cancer content needs to be integral to basic curriculum, along with opportunities for specialization at various post-graduate levels. In a rapidly changing healthcare environment, opportunities for continuing education will ensure that nurses remain current in best evidence-based practices. It is pivotal to include education and research in cancer nursing as a political agenda priority.

    AONS, CANO/ACIO, CNSA, EONS, ISNCC, and ONS, representing the oncology nurses across the globe, take a position that:

    1. Cancer care must be:
      • person-centered,
      • evidence-based, informed by research,
      • delivered in a systematic manner
      • delivered in a quality practice environment
      • to meet the society’s needs
    2. Cancer nursing education must be:
      • Based on standardized, evidence-based curricula, adapted to meet each country’s needs, and based on lifelong learning.
    3. Policies must be in place to ensure that the nursing workforce
      • is prepared to effectively provide care in a manner that promotes positive patient, system, and societal outcomes,
      • regulated, and
      • sustainable.

    Internationally, the contribution of cancer nurses must be valued at all levels of the healthcare and political system. Failure to do so will have a detrimental impact globally.


    1. World Cancer Report 2014

    Partners in this position statement

    This statement was issued by EONS and other international cancer nursing organisations in February 2015.