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Cancer groups call for 'epidemic' response

Major cancer organisations, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology, have announced renewed efforts to tackle the 'cancer epidemic' in developing countries, and called for world leaders to take action

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) yesterday announced renewed efforts to tackle the 'cancer epidemic' in developing countries.

Speaking at the 47th ASCO annual meeting in Chicago, the bodies – which represent 30,000 oncology professionals, 460 organisations and three million volunteers around the world - also called on world leaders to initiate action at the United Nations (UN) High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs), taking place in New York in September.

The UN meeting is the second time the organisation has held such a high-level meeting to address a health topic, following a 2001 discussion on the AIDS crisis, which led to the creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

ASCO are demanding that US President Barack Obama personally attend the UN meeting, delivering its message in a letter to the White House signed by US-based medical societies.

"The UN Meeting in September presents a monumental opportunity to put cancer on the global agenda," said Allen S Lichter, CEO, ASCO. "We urge world leaders to help save and improve the lives of millions of people living with cancer or at risk for the disease."

According to ASCO, 7.6 million people die from cancer each year, with the majority of new cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries.

Other campaign efforts discussed at the ASCO annual meeting included the ACS organised 'We Can, We Should, We Will Conquer Cancer' event to be held June 18-20, with cancer advocates from around the world meeting to share stories and influence the UN to make NCDs a global priority.

ASCO also announced it is expanding the Society's International Cancer Corps (ICC) programme, where physicians provide training on cancer care to medical staff and students in developing countries.

See what data pharma companies presented at the meeting.

7th June 2011

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