Experts Come Together to Close the Cancer Divide by 2025

CAPE TOWN, Nov. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - United Nations (UN) officials, Ministries of Health and leading international decision makers have come together for the first time in Africa to discuss the growing global cancer burden at the 2013 World Cancer Leaders' Summit (WCLS) which took place today at Cape Town City Hall.

Organised by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and hosted by the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), the event is an important forum to secure a coordinated, multilevel global response to address the spiralling cancer epidemic in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and to ensure that cancer control is fully recognised in the world health and development agendas.

The WCLS represents a significant response from the global cancer community to the recent commitment made by the UN to achieve the global goal of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025.

"The theme of this year's Summit is 'Closing the Cancer Divide by 2025' which highlights the urgent need to address the glaring disparities in cancer control within and across national, international and regional boundaries," said Professor Mary Gospodarowicz, President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). "It is of particular significance that we are in Africa today, a region that is seeing an overwhelming increase in cancer incidence and deaths."

According to the World Health Organization, more than 12 million people worldwide will be diagnosed with cancer this year, of which approximately eight million will die. Often misconceived as a disease of wealthy, developed populations the truth is that over 70% of cancer deaths actually occur in LMICs. And without sustained action, cancer incidence is projected to increase by 70% in middle-income countries and 82% in lower-income countries by 2030.[i]

CEO of CANSA and cancer survivor, Sue Janse Van Rensburg, explained the importance of ensuring better access, better reporting and having more data available so that cancer can be controlled in an effective manner. "We needed this very important event to create more awareness, especially amongst the leaders in cancer control in Africa."

Ms Zoleka Mandela, a cancer advocate and survivor, attended the Summit and highlighted the importance of early detection, "Women's cancers are the most prevalent cancer among sub-Saharan Africa women. With few exceptions, early stage cancers are more treatable than late stage cancers, so access to early detection, screening and treatment programmes are critical."

The WCLS addressed how the global cancer community can support LMICs to improve the collection and understanding of cancer information in their countries, heighten awareness of women's cancers and what options exist to improve access to essential medicines and technologies to treat the disease.

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i. World Bank. Growing Danger of non-communicable diseases. Available at Last accessed August 2012


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