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Global Voices Against Cancer

The Global PriorityUpdate

Help make cancer a priority worldwide. Read about the growing cancer burden.

Updates in Global Cancer Control

World Cancer Congress: From December 3-5, the American Cancer Society participated in the World Cancer Congress, held in Melbourne, Australia. This biennial conference is hosted by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and serves as a platform for discourse and advocacy as well as a learning and sharing opportunity for cancer control experts and leaders in global health around the world.

The 2014 World Cancer Congress theme, Joining Forces - Accelerating Progress, emphasized the impact that can be realized by consistently and energetically applying what we know, rather than waiting for possible future "breakthroughs" to change the landscape. The American Cancer Society presented several sessions at the Congress.

Additionally, the American Cancer Society hosted a press conference to launch The Cancer Atlas, Second Edition. The Cancer Atlas includes data and insights from 185 countries. It is a one-stop shop for all of the best cancer data available from a variety of credible sources and highlights country-by-country-strengths and weaknesses worldwide as they relate to cancer. It allows policy makers, researchers, and academics to fully assess differences in risk, burden and prevention.

The press conference was followed by a learning session featuring American Cancer Society's Chief Executive Officer Dr. John Seffrin and the authors of the book, including Ahmedin Jemal, DMV, PhD.

8th annual Stop Cervical, Breast, and Prostate Cancer in Africa Conference: In July, The American Cancer Society was a proud sponsor of the 8th annual Stop Cervical, Breast, and Prostate Cancer in Africa Conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia. The conference rallies African and global policy makers, cancer experts and civil society organizations on issues related to cancers of the reproductive systems. It also raises awareness and addresses prevention and treatment concerns in sub-Saharan Africa. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, attended this year, as did eight African First Ladies, who are committed to encouraging the support of cancer prevention and treatment programs in Africa.

The Society partnered with the Health-e News Service during the Conference, to organize a media session. A total of 12 journalists from Namibia, Kenya, Zambia and South Africa attended the session. The session  provided a powerful and interactive platform to raise awareness about the cancer threat for African women and opportunities to stem the tide of this emerging pandemic.

World Cancer Day 2014: The American Cancer Society was proud to support World Cancer Day on February 4. According to the latest data released by the World Health Organization, an estimated 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer-related deaths occurred in 2012, compared with 12.7 million and 7.6 million, respectively, in 2008. World Cancer Day, an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer. The 2014 campaign focused on reducing stigma and dispelling myths about cancer. One of the most visible events marking the occasion in the United States was in New York, where the Society lit the Empire State Building for the fourth year in a row. 

The Society also partnered with Chevrolet to spread awareness on World Cancer Day by asking supporters to turn their profiles purple in honor of cancer survivors. Chevrolet will contribute $1 to the American Cancer Society for every purple profile, up to $1 million.

'Meet the Targets': The American Cancer Society recently released a progress report on its Meet the Targets program. The Society is the only organization that is supporting country-level advocacy campaigns on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer. Through Meet the Targets, launched in 2012, the Society is supporting 10 grantees in nine countries.

Society Report Projects Increasing Tobacco Threat in Africa: Without intervention, an alarming rise in tobacco use is on the horizon for Africa over the next century, according to a recent report from the American Cancer Society. The Tobacco Use in Africa: Tobacco Control Through Prevention study combines, for the first time, African smoking rates, cigarette consumption, population projections into one report and makes recommendations aimed at curbing smoking prevalence in Africa.

Raising Awareness about Pain Control

More than 2.7 million people die each year from cancer or HIV in moderate or severe pain without access to adequate pain treatment even though morphine, the most effective treatment for severe pain, is safe, effective, plentiful, inexpensive, and easy-to-use. Legal and regulatory restrictions, cultural perceptions about pain, inadequate training of healthcare providers, a poorly functioning market, generally weak health systems, and concern about diversion, addiction, and abuse create a web of barriers that force millions of people to live and die with treatable pain.

The American Cancer Society is fighting back against these barriers to pain relief through its Treat the Pain program, which works to improve access to essential pain medicines. The program provides technical support to improve patient access to pain medicine, with a focus on low and middle-income countries with high unmet need for pain relief. Visit the program’s website and follow on Twitter@TreatThePain and Facebook to learn more.

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to meet up with New York Giants Defensive End, Mathias Kiwanuka, his wife Tessa, and mother Deodata, in Uganda. We were also fortunate to have filmmakers Casey Neistat and Oscar Boyson come along to document the trip and create a short film. This advocacy film highlights the problem of untreated pain and the important work that is being done to improve availability and create a world with less suffering. Narrated by Mr. Neistat, it focuses on Mathias’ experiences and impressions in Uganda while learning about access to pain relief and the Treat the Pain program. To watch the film, click here

World Health Day

April 7 is observed as World Health Day to recognize the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948. The American Cancer Society is grateful to WHO for its important work over the years, and most recently, its success in getting cancer and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) on the global health agenda.

NCDs such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease account for 65 percent of global deaths, with an economic burden just as staggering: they could cost $47 trillion in lost productivity by 2030.

Watch this video of Dr. John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, as he shares his perspective on the inequity in global health resources and funding specifically allocated to fight global NCDs.


No Woman Should Die from Cervical Cancer

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimates that there were 266,000 deaths from cervical cancer worldwide in 2012, accounting for 7.5% of all female cancer deaths. Almost nine out of ten (87%) cervical cancer deaths occur in the less developed regions.  However, cervical cancer is highly preventable through screening tests and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, and if detected at an early stage, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. The American Cancer Society is committed to fighting cervical cancer and is working with partners around the globe to change these statistics by accelerating a comprehensive approach to preventing, detecting, and treating cervical cancer. Read more about out our efforts for global cervical cancer control here.

Cervical Cancer Action:

The Society is a founding member, current co-chair, and secretariat of Cervical Cancer Action, a coalition of eight global organizations whose shared goal is to focus on advocacy for improved cervical cancer prevention worldwide. Read the Cervical Cancer Action Report Card to find out more about global cervical cancer.

Follow us on Twitter @ACSGlobal and "Like" us on Facebook for updates on the Society's global work in cancer control.

The Global Fight Against Cancer

Cancer causes 1 in 8 deaths worldwide and is rapidly becoming a global pandemic. As a leader in cancer control since 1913, the American Cancer Society is committed to saving lives from cancer and reducing the global threat of the disease. Read more about our global fight against cancer here.

Cancer is a leading cause of death for women worldwide. The Society is working with partners around the globe to change these statistics by accelerating a comprehensive approach to  preventing, detecting, and treating women’s cancers. Read how the Society is helping women fight cancer globally here.

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death in the world. If current trends continue, tobacco use will kill 8 million people annually by 2030, 83 percent of whom reside in low- and middle-income countries. Read more about the Society's global fight for tobacco control here.

More than 2.7 million people die each year from cancer or HIV in moderate or severe pain. The American Cancer Society is fighting back against barriers to pain relief through its Treat the Pain program, which works to improve access to essential pain medicines. Visit the program’s website to learn more.

The Truth About Tobacco

How much is a life worth? In 2010, the tobacco industry’s profit was equivalent to $6,000 for each death caused by tobacco. Watch the video How Much is a Life Worth? The Truth About Tobacco. to learn more about the global tobacco burden and devious tactics employed by the tobacco industry to addict new users. Tobacco is the single greatest cause of preventable death in the world. Left unchecked, it is predicted to kill more than 8 million people globally each year by 2030.

The video, developed by the American Cancer Society and World Lung Foundation, highlights data from The Tobacco Atlas, 4th Edition a joint publication by both organizations. The Tobacco Atlas is the world’s leading resource on the burden of tobacco. The 4th edition of the Atlas was released at the 15th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health in Singapore on March 21. A French version was released in Dakar, Senegal on October 1, 2012 and a Spanish version released in Santiago, Chile on June 27, 2013.

The Atlas is now also available in a new mobile application, which automatically launches when you visit on your mobile web browser.

The video and mobile application were unveiled at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, during a global tobacco panel discussion co-hosted by the American Cancer Society, World Lung Foundation, and the World Bank.

Help us spread the truth about tobacco by sharing the video via social media using the hashtag #TobaccoAtlas.


World No Tobacco Day

Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death. The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are people exposed to second-hand smoke.

The World Health Organization’s World No Tobacco Day is an opportunity to educate policy-makers and the general public about the harmful effects of tobacco.

The American Cancer Society is proud to support this year’s theme of “Stop Industry Interference,” which focuses on the tobacco industry’s influence and harmful tactics. Read our blog by Michael Eriksen, ScD, lead author of the Tobacco Atlas, exposing the industry’s increasingly aggressive actions that pose serious danger to public health. For more information visit

Follow @ACS Global on Twitter and #notobacco for World No Tobacco Day conversation.


Women and Noncommunicable Diseases

More than 10,000 women worldwide lose their lives to cancer each day. And yet this disease still does not receive adequate attention and resources. The American Cancer Society is committed to putting women’s health on the global health agenda.

Taskforce on Women's Health: As a part of this commitment, the Society announced the official launch of a new civil society taskforce on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and women’s health at the U.N. High-level Meeting in September 2011. Comprised of leading civil society organizations dealing with women’s health, the task force will advocate for a gender-based, lifecycle approach to NCD prevention and treatment.

Million Moms Challenge: In December 2011, the Society joined ABC News and the United Nations Foundation in the Million Moms Challenge. This initiative is aimed at connecting millions of American women with millions of moms in developing countries and raising awareness of maternal issues such as pregnancy, childbirth, children's health and moms' health, including cervical cancer, worldwide.

GAVI Announcement on HPV Vaccines: Cervical cancer kills 275,000 women and 500,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. About 88% of those deaths occur in developing countries. The GAVI Alliance's decision to support HPV vaccines in the world’s poorest countries means up to 2 million women and girls in nine developing countries could be protected from cervical cancer by 2015. The GAVI announcement is the result of long standing global efforts calling for HPV vaccination and improved cervical cancer prevention. The Society, as a founding member and co-chair of Cervical Cancer Action, the hub of global society activity and advocacy on cervical cancer, played a strong role and looks forward to collaborating with GAVI in its significant effort to invest in women and girls and save lives.

Watch our Chief Medical Officer Dr Otis. Brawley speak about the need to raise awareness of cervical cancer in developing countries.

Share a story: Take a moment to read one of our touching stories of women cancer survivors, caregivers and advocates from around the world. Their courage will inspire you. We hope that you will show your support for the fight against women's cancers by sharing these compelling stories on Facebook or Twitter.

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Stories From Across the World

A global community for cancer survivors, caregivers and those affected by the disease


"When faced with cancer, build a strong mind and help support others"

by: Orajitt Bumrungskulswat in honor of Sanguan Nittayarampong | Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell | Thailand

What caused him to have lung cancer? He didn't smoke and he was a medical doctor. I felt so much regret and sympathy for him...


"Cuanto tiempo de vida me quedara? A que me tendre que enfrentar?"

by: Claudia Patricia Urrego Gonzalez | Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell | Colombia

Cuando me diagnosticaron progresión por segunda vez de la enfermedad porque había un riesgo grande con mis dos pulmones...


"Families of sarcoma patients are having a very hard time because most patients are children"

by: Chizuko Sakashita | Bone Cancer | Japan

I was shocked at the fact that I would have a limited amount of time to live. It was hard for me to be alone in a different world away from my family...

Murat Guner_resized145x145

“As an advocate, I felt like the industry had cheated me and others.”

by: Murat Guner | Cancer of Unknown Primary | Turkey

I was shocked by the data and information that I'd learned. Especially how the tobacco industry cruely treats people, harming the human race, and making them addicted...

Maria Teresa Gaitan

"No sabía cuál era el camino a seguir"

by: Maria Teresa Gaitan | Cancer of Unknown Primary | Colombia

Así me vi, enfrentada a un mundo desconocido lleno de rincones oscuros y profundos en donde yo era la única protagonista...


“Our cancer journeys were a blessing that led to better things”

by: Poonam Bagai | Colon/Rectum Cancer | India

On a cold winter day, in November 2000 in Warsaw Poland, I blacked out while volunteering in my son’s classroom.

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Join the global movement to bring cancer under control in this century

The Fight Against Noncommunicable Diseases

Cancer and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and lung disease kill more than 36 million people globally every year.  The American Cancer Society is committed to making the fight against cancer a global priority. Join us in creating a new global movement to bring NCDs under control in this century, saving millions from premature death and disability. With your help, we can persuade government leaders to increase resources in a coordinated global response against cancer and other NCDs and strengthen health systems, helping to secure a world where the right to a long and healthy life is not bound by nationality or economic status.

A new study conducted by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and the American Cancer Society predicts that if current trends continue, the global burden of new cancer cases will surge from 12.7 million in 2008 to 22.2 million by 2030.

Beyond the human toll, NCDs impact a country’s economic development.  According to a study released by the World Economic Forum on September 18, 2011, the global economic impact of NCDs could total US$ 47 trillion over the next 20 years. As daunting as this is, a portion of NCD diagnoses are attributable to modifiable risk factors – things we can do something about – such as tobacco use, diet and exercise, and compliance with proven early detection recommendations.

We are Moving Forward

In September 2011, the United Nations held its first ever High-level Meeting on NCDs in New York. On the first day, world leaders unanimously adopted the Political Declaration on NCDs, acknowledging the global burden and threat of NCDs and their impact on the social and economic development in all countries.

In 2012, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) approved a resolution calling for a 25 percent reduction in premature deaths from NCDs by 2025 (also known as 25 by 25). These diseases, which have the greatest impact in developing countries, are grouped together in this resolution because they share common risk factors, such as tobacco use, poor diet, physical inactivity, and excessive alcohol consumption. That means they also share common causes and prevention strategies.  

The newly approved 25 by 25 goal sets the stage for the adoption of additional goals by countries aimed at controlling NCD risk factors, as well as goals aimed at strengthening health systems and providing access to essential medicines.

However, our fight is far from over. These targets and indicators must be adopted and governments must take steps to achieve them, including the allocation of sufficient human and financial resources to achieve measurable progress. Creating broad and holistic public health and healthcare systems that meet the diverse health needs of populations is key to both NCD control and the improvement of overall health. And finally, the inclusion of NCDs in future health and development agendas will ensure that we continue to make progress against these deadly diseases for many years to come.

Read more about our latest events on the Global Priority Tab, and stay connected by following the American Cancer Society’s global work and events on Twitter and Facebook.

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