The plan, contained in the World Cancer Declaration (pdf format), recommends a set
of 11 cancer-busting targets for 2020 and outlines priority steps that
need to be taken in order to meet them. It was presented Sunday at the
close of the World Cancer Congress in Geneva and offered as a global
template for governments and other groups to tailor as they devise
their own plans to guide local efforts.
Geneva, 31 August 2008 - A summit of more than 60
high-level policymakers, leaders and health experts have adopted a
global plan aimed at tackling the growing cancer crisis in developing
“The rise of cancer in less affluent countries is an impending
disaster,” WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan told delegates at the
opening of the congress this week. “The time is right to make cancer
control a development priority.”
Chan said she believed that several recent trends in public health make
the international community especially receptive to the arguments made
in the declaration and responsive to its call to action.
Former UN commissioner for human rights Mary Robinson, who chaired the
summit, said cancer control is a human rights issue, tied to the right
to health through access to an effective health system.
“Ultimately, it is a question of human rights and above all, it is a
question of human dignity. Adoption of the World Cancer Declaration is
another step in a real commitment - a vision - of how to tackle this
huge world health issue,” said Robinson, who is now president of
Realizing Rights, a New York-based human rights organization.
Much can be done to tackle cancer in the developing world, the experts
said. About one-third of cancer cases can be prevented and another
third can be cured if detected early and treated properly.
Targets recommended in the declaration include significant drops in
global tobacco consumption, obesity and alcohol intake; universal
vaccination programmes for hepatitis B and human papilloma virus to
prevent liver and cervical cancer; dramatic reduction in the emigration
of health workers with specialist cancer training; universal
availability of effective pain medication and the dispelling of myths
and misconceptions about the disease.
During the summit, participants made several suggestions for how to
meet the targets in the declaration and emphasized certain priorities.
The importance of myth reduction and proper pain relief for cancer
patients were emphasized. The idea of a global fund for cancer, similar
to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, was tabled
as a possible goal, given that cancer kills more people than those
three diseases combined.
Other highlights of the World Cancer Congress closing ceremony include
an award to Raul Pitarque and Javier Bou, who won the prize for a
symbol to designate smoke-free environments for children. Pitarque and
Bou are tobacco activists in Argentina, and their simple but evocative
design was judged to be widely useable, communicating effectively
Also recognized at the ceremony were the winners from the Reel Lives
film festival - the first ever devoted to the theme of cancer. Jan
Gassmann from Switzerland was honoured for his film *Chrigu", a moving
and surprising portrait of a young man who once had great plans for the
future until, at the age of 21, an advanced-stage tumour was found in
Runners up were "The Truth about Cancer" (USA) for best reportage, The
Art of Living (India) for best personal story, The Children of Avenir
(Morocco) for best educational or organizational film, and "Hookah"
(Israel) for the best public service announcement.
Notes for editors
About 25 million people worldwide are living with cancer. It is the
second leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for about 13% of
all deaths. Last year, cancer killed about 7.9 million people, about
72% of whom were in developing countries. The World Health Organization
(WHO) forecasts that by 2030, the annual global death toll will rise to
about 11.5 million.
The World Cancer Summit was hosted by the International Union Against
Cancer (UICC), the leading international non-governmental organization
dedicated to the global control of cancer. The UICC holds a World
Cancer Congress every two years. The next World Cancer Congress will
meet in Beijing, 18-21 August 2010.
For further information, contact Paraic Reamonn, information officer, +41 22 809 1890, firstname.lastname@example.org