1.5 million premature cancer deaths could be prevented per year if targets set to reduce NCDs are met by 2025
On World Cancer Day, UICC and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reveal real-life impact of achieving goal
Monday 4 February 2013 – World Cancer Day: Geneva, Switzerland – The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) today announced that 1.5 million lives which would be lost to cancer, could be saved per year if decisive measures are taken to achieve the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘25 by 25’ target; to reduce premature deaths due to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by 2025.[i]
Currently, 7.6 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, out of which, 4 million people die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years).i So unless urgent action is taken to raise awareness about the disease and to develop practical strategies to address cancer, by 2025, this is projected to increase to an alarming 6 million premature cancer deaths per year.
“The estimate of 1.5 million lives lost per year to cancer that could be prevented must serve to galvanise our efforts in implementing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) ‘25 by 25’ target,” said Dr Christopher Wild, Director of IARC. “There is now a need for a global commitment to help drive advancements in policy and encourage implementation of comprehensive National Cancer Control Plans. If we are to succeed in this, we have a collective responsibility to support low- and middle-income countries who are tackling a cancer epidemic with insufficient resources.”
The 1.5 million lives lost per year represent 25% of the estimated 6 million premature cancer deaths that will occur by 2025, and the 6 million figure is itself based on population projections of current numbers and aging.
On World Cancer Day, UICC and its members are urging the public and governments alike to speak out with one voice to dispel damaging myths and misconceptions on cancer. Under the theme “Cancer – Did you know?” individuals and communities are encouraged to shed light on four key cancer ‘myths’ and the corresponding ‘truth’ via the UICC World Cancer Day App. Download the App and play your part in reducing the unacceptable burden of cancer https://apps.facebook.com/world_cancer_day
- Myth: Cancer is just a health issue
Truth: Cancer is not just a health issue. It has wide reaching social, economic, development and human rights implications
- Myth: Cancer is a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries
Truth: Cancer is a global epidemic, affecting all ages and socio-economic groups, with developing countries bearing a disproportionate burden
- Myth: Cancer is a Death sentence
Truth: many cancers that were once considered a death sentence can now be cured and for many more people their cancer can now be treated effectively
- Myth: Cancer is my fate
With the right strategies, at least 30% of cancer cases can be prevented based on current knowledge
Cary Adams, CEO UICC said, “This World Cancer Day UICC, its members and partners urge everyone from individuals to governments to take a stand against damaging myths on cancer. By truly understanding this deadly disease, governments can develop appropriate strategies to reduce premature deaths and reach the WHO ‘25 by 25’ goal. The figures today announced by IARC and UICC reveal the fundamental human value of achieving this target. 1.5 million people saved from an early death due to cancer is equal to the entire populations of Philadelphia, Auckland, Barcelona or Maputo each and every year.”
For more information on how you can get involved and take action against cancer, visit worldcancerday.org.
It should also be stressed that this assumes the 25% reduction in overall mortality is spread in an even proportion across the main NCDs (cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung diseases and diabetes). This is actually not necessary for the ‘25 by 25’ target to be met, as there could be more progress on cardiovascular disease than on cancer, for example.
[i] GLOBOCAN – online resource. IARC. 2013.