World Cancer Day is marked on February 4 to raise awareness of Cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of the World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce death and illness caused by cancer by 2021. The Union of International Cancer control (UICC) (French: Union Internationale Contre le Cancer, Spanish: Unión Internacional Contra el Cáncer) is a membership based, non-governmental organization that exists to help the global health community accelerate the fight against cancer. Founded in 1933 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, UICC’s growing membership of over 760 organizations across 155 countries, features the world’s major cancer societies, ministries of health, research institutes and patient groups. Together with its members, key partners, the World Health Organization, World Economic Forum and others, UICC is tackling cancer on a global scale. Under the leadership of Cary Adams, Chief Executive Officer of UICC, the Secretariat focuses on these three areas of priority through the following:
- World Cancer Congress This is held every two years and serves as a platform for discourse and advocacy as well as a learning and sharing opportunity for our members and partners around the world.
- Global Roundtable Series, with key meetings scheduled for Europe, Latin America and Asia; these exclusive events respond to the most pressing topics including the outcomes from the UN High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), tackling cervical cancer and cancer in children.
- World Cancer Leaders’ Summit, an annual high-level policy meeting dedicated exclusively to furthering global cancer control. It convenes key players from among UICC’s membership and network, health ministers and leaders of international businesses.
- UICC is working to promote 4 February as a World Cancer Day .
- Their advocacy goals are to Press for cancer control to be included in the revised Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
- To Encourage governments to fulfil their commitments from the UN High-level Meeting on NCDs, with a special focus on the importance of national cancer control plans and surveillance.
- to Support WHO to develop robust systems for measuring progress against targets, ensuring governments can be held accountable.
UICC’s global programmes focus on five priority areas and target advocacy, education and training, as well as in-country activities in collaboration with partners and local UICC members.
- GAPRI (Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative) seeks to make essential pain medicines universally available. Providing direct support to more government ministries around the world, GAPRI aims to simplify the complicated international regulations around the distribution and use of morphine.
- CCI (Cervical Cancer Initiative) aims to advocate for cervical cancer to become a priority at the highest level, increase access to prevention, screening and treatment services and develop crucial information on the cost of scaling up cervical cancer control activities.
- ChiCa (Childhood Cancer) – This programme seeks to ensure decision-makers around the world understand the importance of early treatment of cancer in children. The programme is developing resources to help governments, particularly in low- and middle- income countries, improve the way they respond to this issue.
- GETI (Global Education and Training Initiative) facilitates the professional development of oncology healthcare workers and global leaders in cancer control. Through targeted fellowships, workshops and training the programme helps develop future leaders in cancer control and influence healthcare policy and practice across each of our priority programmes.
- GICR (Global Initiative for Cancer Registries) aims to increase the number and quality of population-based cancer registries in low- and middle-income countries. Working in collaboration with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), UICC will roll- out hubs of excellence.
In 1933, cancer researchers recognized a need to share knowledge and expertise globally, and so founded UICC. Since then, UICC has grown into a respected forum for all professionals engaged in cancer prevention and control. Its objective is to advance scientific and medical knowledge in research diagnosis, therapy and prevention of cancer and to promote all aspects of campaigns to prevent cancer throughout the world. Over the years, UICC has fostered the development of cancer institutions, the sharing and exchange of knowledge, the transfer of skills and technologies, and the education of professionals engaged in cancer control. The UICC sponsors a biannual World Cancer Congress that brings together the world’s leaders in the fight to control cancer. Leading clinicians, practitioners, government agencies and NGO’s, patient-care providers and advocates, researchers and behavioural scientists and public health experts focus on transforming the latest knowledge into strategies that countries, communities, institutions and individuals can employ to reduce the cancer burden. The last World Cancer Congress, which took place in Montreal, Canada in 2012,had the four following topics
- Prevention and early detection (including tobacco control)
- Cancer care and survivorship
- Palliation and pain control
- Systems in cancer control
The next World Cancer Congress takes place in Melbourne, Australia from 3-6 December 2014. The UICC brings together a wide range of organizations, including voluntary cancer leagues and societies, research and treatment centres, public health authorities, patient support networks, advocacy groups, and in some countries, ministries of health. UICC has consultative status with the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council. It works closely with the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer,and the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy(PACT) initiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Cancer networks, partnerships, coalitions, and alliances may join UICC in the category of common interest groups, offering cancer control professionals, volunteers and advocates the chance to become part of a vibrant international community – accessing and sharing information, discussing and debating key cancer control issues with their peers, contributing to shared activities, and helping shape UICC’s strategic directions as well as the programme of the UICC World Cancer Control. The World Health Assembly resolution on cancer prevention and control adopted in May 2005, calls on all countries to intensify action against cancer by developing and reinforcing cancer control programmes. This resolution has added momentum to theWHO’s longstanding work against cancer. WHO is working with partners like UICC to create a global plan of action against cancer. A series of six WHO modules provides practical advice for programme managers and policymakers on how to advocate, plan and implement effective cancer control programmes, particularly in low-and-middle-income countries. According to Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director general, “WHO cancer prevention, including control strategies and guidelines, helps governments in all countries of the world to improve their capacity to reduce national cancer burdens. Our partner organizations play a crucial role in accelerating the translation of WHO’s guidance into national practice in order to save the lives of millions.”