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Knowledge and skills recommended for pharmacists to practise cancer care are defined in new guidance from the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) published recently. Such knowledge is not limited to the biology of cancer and cancer medicines, but includes public health strategies, non-pharmacological support, and communication. In addition to providing pharmacists with a comprehensive list of knowledge and skills, the new resource, ‘Knowledge and skills reference guide for professional development in cancer care’, aims to highlight key considerations for educators in the area of cancer to support pharmacists’ professional development. 

“The global burden of cancer is increasing and requires a more robust response from healthcare systems worldwide. The World Health Organisation has passed a resolution for cancer prevention and control, in the context of an integrated approach, to encourage countries to set goals, collect data and improve outcomes. By supporting pharmacists to develop, upskill and refresh knowledge in cancer care, FIP is empowering pharmacists to facilitate these goals,” said Dr Dalia Bajis, FIP lead for provision and partnerships and editor of the guidance document, which has been reviewed by a group of experts and contributed to by the European Society of Clinical Pharmacy. 

The new guidance is intended as a companion to ‘Cancer care — A handbook for pharmacists’, also published by FIP recently. This resource covers all aspects of cancer care for pharmacists, from prevention and screening, through treatment and management, to complications and end-of-life care. It, too, has been developed by an international expert advisory group and with the collaboration of the International Society of Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners. Dr Evelyn Handel, the Society’s president, writes in a foreword that oncology is an area where change is at its most rapid and that pharmacists are well poised to significantly implement many of the new treatments, technologies and research in cancer care. 

“This handbook and its accompanying knowledge and skills guide cover a lot of ground and provide a comprehensive foundation. . . I am excited for the impact [FIP’s Practice Transformation Programme on Non-Communicable Diseases] and accompanying resources will have on elevating the quality and consistency of oncology pharmacy practice globally,” Dr Handel commented.