HKU School of Public Health and Hong Kong Cancer Fund Host the 20th International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) World Congress


The 20th International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) World Congress (the Congress) has successfully kicked off this morning (October 31, 2018) at the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine Jockey Club Building, Hong Kong, with Professor Sophia Chan, JP, Secretary for Food and Health, as the guest of honour at the Opening Ceremony. This is the first time this annual event is being held in Hong Kong, and is its firsttime in Asia since 1994.

With the conference theme of “Optimizing psychosocial supportive services in cancer care”, the five-day congress is to be held from October 29 to November 2, 2018, and is co-hosted by the School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), and Hong Kong Cancer Fund. It aims to bring together psychosocial and oncology professionals from around the world to discuss how to integrate and consolidate strategies to optimise psychosocial support services in cancer care.

More than 650 medical leaders, government officials, health practitioners and academics from diverse fields across 58 economies attended this special occasion, and collaboratively addressed timely issues concerning research and practice through a series of psychosocial academy workshops, plenary sessions and presentations.

“It is our great honour to host this flagship event of the International Psycho-Oncology Society, and this year’s Congress is exceptionally special as it is the first time for the Congress to return to Asia since 1994. We will continue to follow IPOS’ vision to provide a platform for a full and fruitful exchange of ideas and practicesfrom different settings and cultures, and contribute to improving the lives of cancer patients around the world.” said Dr Wendy Lam, Conference Chair and Associate Professor & Head of the Division of Behavioural Sciences of HKU School of Public Health, in her welcoming address.

Mrs Sally Lo, Co-Chair and Founder & Chief Executive of Hong Kong Cancer Fund said, “The Hong Kong Cancer Fund was the first to introduce the psychosocial aspects of cancer care in Hong Kong and pave the way forward by building its foundation and core philosophy on holistic cancer care. We are therefore delighted to be partnering to host this international conference, where like-minded people from around the globe gather to offer effective solutions to people touched by cancer from the moment of diagnosis through treatment to recovery and survivorship. The week will be full of thought-provoking information.”

"The Government has a firm commitment in the prevention, control and treatment of cancer.  As announced in the Chief Executive's Policy Address earlier this month, the Cancer Coordinating Committee, established in 2001, is now drawing reference from the World Health Organisation’s recommendations, international practices and actual local situations with a view to mapping out in 2019 strategies related to cancer prevention and care services for the period between 2020 and 2025." Professor Chan said in her congratulatory address.

Professor Gabriel Leung, Dean of HKU LKS Faculty of Medicine, welcomed the delegates by video link, “The World Congress comes at an important time for the Faculty and cancer care in Hong Kong. The Faculty has just embarked on a major project to help create Hong Kong’s first purpose-built, research-focused cancer care centre, as well as setting up the Jockey Club Institute for Cancer Care to address a large gap in psychosocial services for patients and their families and caregivers. I wish all participants an informative and inspiring few days as they seek to balance the exciting prospects of cancer research with that most fundamental aspect of healthcare: putting the patients, and their experience, at the heart of all we do.”

“Over the past two decades HKU School of Public Health has been committed to developing the evidence base for secondary and tertiary cancer prevention, and primary psychosocial support for Asian cancer patients. Together with all the IPOS delegates, we are proactively addressing the challenge of ensuring universal access of information to prevent cancer, as well as optimum and rapid diagnosis, treatment and support for cancer patients.” Professor Keiji Fukuda, Director of HKU School of Public Health expressed in his opening remarks.

Dr Maria Die Trill, President of IPOS, said, “This Congress will give us the opportunity to make significant progress in psycho-oncology as we learn about innovative research in the field, while developing new research and clinical ideas based on existing ones. We welcome delegates from all over the globe who have come together to collaborate, share and learn.”

The culmination of the Congress will be the presentation of the Arthur M. Sutherland Award to Professor Richard Fielding, Honorary Professor of HKU School of Public Health,in the Awards Ceremony on November 2, 2018, to honour his lifetime contribution to research and education in the field of psycho-oncology, which has benefited many scholars and students over the years.

Please visit the following website for the programme and list of speakers attending the Congress:

About the School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, HKU
The School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong has a long and distinguished history in public health education and high impact research. With world-leading research in infectious diseases, as well as on non-communicable diseases of both local and global importance, the School has made significant contributions through its research and advocacy to improve the health of populations and individuals, both locally and globally.

The School is a leading research and teaching hub in public health on influenza and other emerging viruses, control of infectious and non-communicable diseases, tobacco control, air pollution, psycho-oncology, behavioral sciences, exercise science, life-course epidemiology, and health economics, health services planning and management. This work has informed international (e.g. the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), national and local public health policies.

About Hong Kong Cancer Fund
As Hong Kong’s largest cancer support organisation, the Hong Kong Cancer Fund provides free information and professional support services to anyone living with or affected by cancer. Hong Kong Cancer Fund aims to reduce the impact of cancer, increase cancer awareness and ensure that no one faces cancer alone. Founded in 1987, our work encompasses professional, psychological and social care services, home care, peer support, funding of hospital equipment and local cancer research, public education, and much more, filling the gaps in cancer care. Hong Kong Cancer Fund’s services are all FREE. Receiving no money from the government or the Community Chest, we rely solely on public generosity to sustain our ongoing cancer support services. For more information, please visit

About the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS)
The International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS), founded in 1984 fosters international multidisciplinary communication about clinical, educational and research issues that relate to the subspecialty of psycho-oncology. The Society sought to provide leadership and development of standards for education and research on the psychological, social and spiritual factors that affect the quality of life of cancer patients and their loved ones, and that influence tumor progression and survival. IPOS has non-state actor status with the World Health Organization (WHO) and works with partner organizations to facilitate training, encourage psychosocial principles and a humanistic approach in cancer care, and to stimulate research and develop training so psychosocial care may be integrated with all clinical oncologic specialties for optimal patient care. Over 70 cancer organizations have endorsed the IPOS Standard of Quality care that states psychosocial support should be integrated into cancer care as a universal human right and distress should be measured as the 6th vital sign.

Professor Sophia Chan, Secretary for Food and Health, guest of honour at the Opening Ceremony of the 20th International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) World Congress, commented that the Hong Kong SAR Government is committed to mapping out strategies related to cancer prevention and care services.

(From left to right) Mrs Sally Lo, Founder & Chief Executive of Hong Kong Cancer Fund and IPOS 2018 Conference Co-chair; Professor Keiji Fukuda, Director of HKU School of Public Health; Professor Sophia Chan, Secretary for Food and Health; Dr Maria Die Trill, President of International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS); Dr Wendy Lam, IPOS 2018 Conference Co-Chair and Associate Professor & Head of the Division of Behavioural Sciences of HKU School of Public Health; and Professor Jane Turner, Vice-President / President Elect of IPOS, dotted the lion’s eye at the Opening Ceremony of the 20th International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) World Congress.