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Health leaders challenge global policy makers on cancer

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Global health leaders have put out an urgent call to countries to improve action on cancer services.

At the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit (WCLS) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 1, health leaders from United Nations agencies, the non-profit and private sectors, and academia came together to issue the call.

They asked countries to increase access to, and investment in, cancer services to improve vital early detection, treatment, care, and public health data.

Insisting that the need for global action on cancer was more urgent than ever, the group presented new data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimating that there will be 18.1 million new cancer cases diagnosed and 9.6 million cancer deaths in 2018.

This means that countries are way off-course to meet the ambitious global target of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), like cancer, 25 per cent by 2025 as agreed by the World Health Organisation in 2013, they said.

Union for International Cancer Control President, Professor Sanchia Aranda, said: “Cancer is not just a health concern, but also a serious threat to development. The growing burden has clear implications for patients, their families, and health systems, but also for the economic growth of a country as a whole.”

UICC President-elect, HRH Princess Dina Mired said: “We know Treatment for All is possible in every country. What we need is strategic national plans and national champions for cancer control to implement these measures.”