Concerted global action is the only answer to rising cancer deaths
Two million lives could be saved by 2020 and 6.5 million lives by 2040 according to new WHO/UICC cancer booklet
Geneva, 3 June 2003 - The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) call for action through concerted efforts by all sectors to prevent and treat cancer throughout the world. By taking immediate action, the organizations estimate that at least two million lives could be saved by 2020 and 6.5 million lives by 2040.
The WHO/UICC co-authored booklet released today, Global Action Against Cancer, presents key facts and figures on the global cancer burden and quotes leading experts on the current cancer control challenges. The data covers cancer mortality and incidence figures for 12 different regions around the world and, for the first time, tracks the evolution of the global cancer picture in the years to come if current trends continue. The new booklet complements the information in the World Cancer Report released earlier this year.
In 2020, regions with traditionally low numbers of cancer deaths could see alarming increases in mortality rates. Regions including Northern Africa and Western Asia, South America, the Caribbean, and South East Asia could face sharp increases of over 75% in the number of cancer deaths in 2020 as compared to 2000.
The WHO and UICC challenge international organizations, governments, institutions and individuals from all sectors, public and private, to work together to reverse the trends by addressing common risk factors, providing recommended treatment, and planning effectively at national and regional levels. They also call for concerted efforts to improve quality of life for those living with and dying from cancer, their families, and caregivers.
“With existing knowledge, it is possible to prevent at least one-third of the 10 million cancer cases that occur annually throughout the world. Where sufficient resources are made available, current knowledge also allows the early detection and effective treatment of a further one-third of those cases. Pain relief and palliative care can improve the quality of life of cancer patients and their families,” said Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General, WHO.
The knowledge about prevention and treatment of cancer is increasing, yet the number of new cases grows every year. If current trends continue, 15 million people will discover they have cancer in 2020, two-thirds of them in newly-industrialized and developing countries.
“Cancer is potentially the most preventable and most curable of the major life-threatening diseases facing humankind. By applying existing knowledge and promoting evidence-based actions in cancer control, we will turn this truth into reality for all people everywhere,” said Dr. John R. Seffrin, President UICC.
The WHO and UICC are working together to address the cancer situation at a global level and to promote responsibility of all sectors in finding solutions to control one of the world’s most studied diseases. Over 40 organizations are attending a WHO/UICC meeting during the 39th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists in the United States to discuss ways to promote shared responsibility and greater collaboration for global cancer control.
The first edition of Global Action Against Cancer is being distributed free of charge and can be accessed online at www.who.int/cancer and www.uicc.org. Bound copies can be ordered at cost at email@example.com.
For more information please contact: Amanda Marlin, Programme on Cancer Control, World Health Organization, Tel. +41 22 791 2443 (office), +41 79 615 5070 (mobile), E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Rebecca Harding, Communications Officer, Director-General’s Office, World Health Organization, Tel: +41 22 791 3229 (office), +41 79 509 0651 (mobile), E-mail: email@example.com or Brooke Girard, Communications Manager, International Union Against Cancer, Tel: +41 79 477 4100 (mobile), E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.