UICC Welcomes New Global Action Plan Against Cancer

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International Union Against Cancer has warmly welcomed a global plan of action on cancer that can save millions of lives over the next ten years.

The plan, unveiled by the World Health Organization at a technical briefing during the World Health Assembly on Monday this week, draws on the strengths of WHO's many departments and experts to bring together a wide range of strategies to prevent what is preventable, cure what is curable, relieve pain and improve quality of life, and manage for success.

Dr Franco Cavalli, UICC's President, spoke at the briefing as the representative of NGOs. "I welcome the stress in this action plan on national cancer control planning. UICC's vision is that in the next 10 years every country should have a national plan."

"Without implementation, however, the best-laid plans achieve nothing, and this is where non-governmental organizations like UICC have a vital role to play as advocates." Without strong pressure from civil society, governments often can do little.

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Dr Cavalli pointed to the sobering experience of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Most of WHO's member states have ratified the convention (147 states out of 193, with the United States as a conspicuous exception). "However, the tobacco industry has so far forestalled legislation on tobacco control in most developing countries."

It was therefore important that advocacy for cancer prevention, cure and care was the first of the seven components in the WHO action plan.

On Tuesday, Dr Cavalli and Isabel Mortara, UICC's Executive Director, paid a courtesy visit to Dr Margaret Chan, WHO's Director-General. A warm and constructive meeting focused mainly on implementation and partnership.

This is in line with Dr Chan's public statements and emphases.

"In my four months in office, I have held discussions across the full spectrum of our partnerships," she says. "These include sister UN agencies, bilateral agencies, development banks, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and academia. We are looking for engagement and synergies but above all for greater coordination and cohesion."

"WHO is committed to a global action plan against cancer that will enhance synergies both across WHO and with our international partners to reduce the physical, social and economic burden of cancer worldwide."

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