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The UICC World Cancer Congress

August 24, 2012

By John R. Seffrin, chief executive officer

This coming week I’ll be in Montréal, where I am so proud to be representing the American Cancer Society at the 2012 UICC World Cancer Congress.  Society staff, volunteers, and executives will spend several days working with other health leaders from around the world to keep cancer at the forefront of the global agenda. This biannual meeting comes at a time when we’re seeing a good deal of progress in laying the groundwork for a coordinated global response to the rising burden of cancer and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). But we must do more.

Despite our efforts, cancer incidence is growing globally. There are about 12 million new cancer diagnoses around the world annually, and that number is expected to grow to more than 22 million in 2030, with the greatest burden falling on low- and middle- income countries. This tsunami of cancer will devastate the developing world in the next 20 years if we do not act. I believe we have a moral imperative to address this challenge now, and efforts such as the World Cancer Congress and last year’s United Nations High Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases represent our best chance to act.

The World Cancer Congress brings together the international cancer control community to find solutions to reduce the impact of cancer on communities around the world. It is hosted by the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC), a long-time partner of the Society in the global fight against cancer, and an organization I served as volunteer president from 2002-2006.

The Society will take a highly active and visible role this coming week. We will emphasize the need for continued support and momentum in translating the benefits of knowledge gained through research and practice to those affected by cancer around the world. We must share what we have learned, and increase access to prevention, control, and palliative care.

Other highlights of our involvement:

  • Our experts will address diet and cancer risk, access to pain medications, and ways to use social media to educate people.
  • We will introduce delegates to the Global Relay For Life program and demonstrate how it can benefit individual communities, as well as make a global impact in the fight against cancer.
  • We are leading a session on the power of advocacy.
  • There will be an all-day training for Society grantees, where we will share best practices and  identify opportunities for action.
  • The “Global Village” expo will feature a large Society booth at which conference attendees can learn about our global work, share stories about the fight against cancer through a video booth, and sign up for our global social communities.

I will be tweeting updates throughout the week from @AmerCancerCEO. More information about the conference can be found at http://www.worldcancercongress.org

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