The following is from the Winter issue of the International Research Society of the Sapporo Conference for Palliative and Supportive Care in Cancer Newsletter that was published in December 2022 for IRS-SCPSC members. To view the full newsletter, please click this link

Message from Dr.Ishitani



Our thoughts and prayers are with many people currently suffering from the tragic events occurring around the world.

Blowin’ in the Wind – Bob Dylan

Yes, and how many death will it take ‘till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Looking to the future of the International Research Society of the Sapporo Conference for Palliative and Supportive Care in Cancer (IRS-SCPSC) The 3rd/4th Joint SCPSC conference held in April this year was successfully concluded, receiving overwhelming positive feedback. This achievement is entirely thanks to the support and cooperation of all those involved, for which we are deeply grateful. We are now approaching a decade since the first inception of the SCPSC in 2014. The SCPSC has consistently provided cutting-edge topics and fostered heated discussions. However, it is at this juncture that I, once again, ask for the opinions of our board members regarding the future of SCPSC. We received numerous valuable suggestions, which can be summarized as follows:

1) The SCPSC, as a unique opportunity for the world’s leading experts in palliative care to gather and engage in discussions on important themes without competition, should continue as it is.
2) The board’s primary role should be in program planning, and we hope to attract members from around the world to provide a diverse range of perspectives.
3) General topics at the SCPSC should be presented through oral presentations, providing an educational opportunity.
4) A newsletter should be issued.

The 5th SCPSC is already in preparation and is scheduled for July 10-11, 2026. The “Prague Charter – Palliative Care as a Human Right,” established in 2013, forms the fundamental principle of the SCPSC. We look forward to a stimulating program that envisions the future of palliative oncology and psycho-oncology in accordance with this Charter.We hope that a stimulating program with an eye on the future will be organized in palliative oncology and psycho-oncology based on SCPSC’s basic philosophy, “palliative care as a human right (2013)” of the Prague Charter. Additionally, the list of new and old board members up to the end of September can be found on our website under the “Board of Directors” section. We would appreciate it if you could take a moment to read through it.

November 1, 2023

Kunihiko Ishitani

President of The International Research Society of the SCPSC
President, Higashi Sapporo Hospital
Asian Editor, BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care

Member’s News

Dr. Declan Walsh, the Editor-in-Chief of BMJ SPCare, was honoured with The Walther Cancer Foundation Supportive Oncology Award at the 2023 ASCO(American Society of Clinical Oncology) Annual Meeting:
BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care

Additionally, the selection of Dr. Camilla Zimmermann as an associate editor for JCO(Journal of Clinical Oncology; An American Society of Clinical Oncology Journal) was also included as significant news. It is now well-recognized that the integration of standard oncology and palliative care is becoming more universal, and we would like to think that these two news items symbolize that trend.

Welcoming our latest addition to the Board of Directors

Dr.Meera Agar

Professor of Palliative Medicine, University of Technology Sydney.
Director, Center for Improving Palliative, Aged and Chronic Care through Clinical Research and Translation

Dr.Joseph Clark

Lecturer in Global Palliative Care, Wolfson Palliative Care Research Center, University of Hull.
A member of Lancet Commission; The Humanitarian Crisis in Cancer: Palliative Care in Low Resource Settings

Dr.Joachim Cohen

Professor and Chair of the End of Life Care Research Group, Vriji Universiteit, Brussels

Dr.Yasuo Hamamoto

Associate Professor, Keio University School of Medicine, Keio Cancer Center

Dr.Soushi Iwasaki 
Clinical Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine

Dr.Jong-Heun. Kim 

Chief Scientist, Division of Cancer Biology, National Cancer Center Korea

Dr.Yukie Kurihara 

Project Professor at Sophia University Institute of Grief Care

Dr.Brian Le 
Director of Palliative Care at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Professor(Clinical), Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology and Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne

Dr.Thomas LeBlanc 

Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy, Duke University School of Medicine.
Director, Cancer Patient Experience Research Program, Duke Cancer Institute

Dr.Hyun Jeong Lee 

Associate Scientist, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, National Cancer Center, National Cancer Survivorship Center Korea

Dr.Patricia Neo
Clinical Associate Professor, Head and Senior Consultant, Division of Supportive and Palliative Care, National Cancer Center Singapore
Dr.Karen Steinhauser

Professor, Department of Population Health Science and Medicine, Duke University Medical Center

Dr.Kiyotaka Watanabe 

Clinical Professor of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Teikyo University

Dr.Grace Yang 

Consultant in Palliative Medicine, National Cancer Center Singapore

Dr.Camilla Zimmermann 

Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto.
The Harold and Shirley Lederman Chair in Palliative Care and Psychosocial Oncology

Member’s News continued

On December 4th, an article about the SCPSC Newsletter was published in the BMJ SPCare Blog. BMJ SPCare


Contribution to the SCPSC Newsletter

Dr.Russell Portenoy

Professor of Family and Social Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

One of the pleasures that I have experienced through my involvement with the planning of each Sapporo Conference on Palliative and Supportive Care has been my correspondence with Dr. Ishitani before each conference. I have appreciated each of his carefully crafted emails, which seem designed to help me better understand and embrace the vision sustaining the conference while challenging me to provide the kind of specific information needed to plan its curriculum and content.

Many of these communications have commented on the perspective of whole-person care that is a pillar of palliative and supportive care. Prior to the 3rd and 4th Joint SCPSC, Dr. Ishitani wrote me about the need to find equal room at the conference for both discussions of key medical issues in advanced cancer, such as cancer pain, and presentations that explored the complex role that spirituality plays in coping and adaptation to illness. The final conference agenda reveals the extent to which this vision of whole-person care was realized—brilliantly in my estimation.

Dr. Ishitani’s emails usually also focused on the session devoted to pain. My bias has usually been on clinical practice. I want to provide information about the best available evidence while highlighting consensus-based clinical decisions that must be made at the bedside when cancer pain is not controlled.

Dr. Ishitani’s communications with me prior to the 3rd and 4th Joint SCPSC supported my view of this, but also reminded me repeatedly about the importance of information about the basic science of pain, its pathophysiology, neuropharmacology, and immunology. I came to see the wisdom in this. With Dr. Ishitani’s help, we planned a session on pain that including speakers who described the emerging science, providing information that may someday be translated into new therapies that address the causes of pain or allow a more personalized medicine approach to analgesic management.
For me, the history of each SCPSC includes a series of communications that, I assume, only I have been privileged to see. They are worthy of note because they reveal Dr. Ishitani’s singular ability to promote a vision of palliative care while working with a team to create a top-notch educational event for care providers. My history with the SCPSC has enlarged my personal understanding of whole-person care—one that views this care from a perspective that supports scientific discovery, evidence from good research, and the exploration of uniquely human, spiritual aspects of health and illness—and I am pleased to share it.

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