On February 6, 2023, a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake, followed by a second 7.5-magnitude quake, struck southeast Turkey and northwest Syria. To date, the quakes and several major aftershocks have killed nearly 52,000 citizens—more than 45,000 in Turkey and more than 6,700 in Syria—and injured tens of thousands, in addition to displacing hundreds of thousands across a region already facing a humanitarian and refugee crisis caused by 12 years of civil war in Syria. The earthquake has also toppled hospitals and other medical facilities, crippling the health-care systems in both countries, and making it difficult for patients with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses to receive treatment.
In a statement released by ASCO immediately after the earthquakes devastated the region, the Society called on the global cancer community to support both the patients whose lives have been impacted by the natural disaster, as well as the health-care professionals caring for these patients. ASCO also urged its members and the broader cancer community to lend their support and expertise to organizations working on the ground to provide relief by contributing to the Global Oncology Assistance and Leadership (GOAL) Initiative established by Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation.
On March 2, the Union for International Cancer Control published an article providing an update on the medical situation in Turkey and Syria and how the organization is exploring with its members how best to support relief efforts in the area to ensure that patients with cancer will be able to access care.The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.