AFN HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR CANCER PREVENTION AMONG FIRST NATIONS; ENCOURAGES ALL CANADIANS TO SIGN WORLD CANCER DECLARATION

OTTAWA, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - On February 4, World Cancer Day, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo encourages First Nations and all Canadians to endorse the World Cancer Declaration, which commits to specific targets focused on cancer prevention and awareness.

"The Assembly of First Nations strongly supports the World Cancer Declaration, and we encourage other individuals and organizations to join with their support," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  "As the leading cause of death world wide, cancer needs everyone's attention - and First Nations are no exception.  By raising awareness through a global effort, we can better ensure that First Nations and all Canadians have better access to prevention information and treatments."

The World Cancer Declaration, developed by the Union for International Cancer Control, commits people across the globe to reach 11 specific targets in cancer prevention and awareness by 2020.  It calls on individuals and organizations to take immediate steps to reduce the global cancer burden by providing resources and political backing for the priority actions required to achieve them. The Declaration will be presented at the United Nations Summit on non-Communicable Diseases September 2011. 

"Cancer is rising faster in First Nation communities than in the general population," said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Bill Traverse who holds the national health portfolio, adding that over the past several decades cancer and other chronic diseases have emerged as important threats to the overall well-being of First Nation citizens as social conditions continue to be inadequate.

"There are additional health concerns for First Nation citizens and communities with inadequate housing and infrastructure, like Northlands Denesuline First Nation in Manitoba just to name one," said Regional Chief Traverse.  "The federal government is falling short on its obligation to First Nations health and it is essential that the social determinants of health be addressed in coordination with cancer screening and prevention.  The more people are aware, the more we can urge people to act.  We encourage First Nations and all Canadians to lend their voice to the need for proper, culturally appropriate and community-centered prevention and screening for everyone." 

The AFN works in collaboration with the Canadian Cancer Action Network and is working closely with the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) in the development of an action plan on cancer control. 

For more information and to sign on to the World Cancer Declaration visit www.uicc.org/declaration

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Don Kelly, Assembly of First Nations A/Communications Director
613-241-6789 ext. 334 or cell: 613-292-2787 or e-mail dkelly@afn.ca

Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or e-mail jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613 292-0857 or agaron@afn.ca

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