February 4 is World Cancer Day

Dr. Michael N. Pollak, a senior cancer researcher at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital and Director of the Cancer Prevention Programs at the Segal Cancer Centre and McGill University, is among an elite group of 100 international experts convened to review the global burden of cancer. The experts are calling on world governments to take urgent action to halt a catastrophic increase in death and suffering from cancer across the globe, and to deliver on commitments they made at the World Health Assembly in May 2012 to cut premature deaths from non-communicable diseases, including cancer, by 25% by 2025.

“If governments live up to this commitment, we could prevent at least 1.5 million deaths annually from cancer,” Dr. Pollak said. “To achieve this goal, we need to adopt new strategies focusing not only on research, but also on better application of what is already known concerning cancer risk, encouraging healthy lifestyles and environments, redesigning health care systems, and reforming health policy. In particular, we have to wage war on tobacco, the biggest single cause of cancer death around the world, and help people take action to reduce their risk of contracting cancer. The contribution of excess alcohol consumption to cancer risk, including breast cancer risk, also needs to be communicated ” Every cancer patient must be assured access to appropriate diagnostic, curative, and palliative care.

The “Stop Cancer Now!” appeal raises the alarm about the rapid escalation in the human and economic cost of cancer, and warns that current strategies for controlling cancer are not working. It calls on governments and policy makers to commit to pursuing new strategies that have been shown to be effective and are achievable anywhere in the world.


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February 4, 2013