Working together towards common goals allows us to share skills, knowledge, perspectives and networks so that we are in the best position to drive action on all fronts at every level. We need strategic collaborations that involve civil society, companies, cities, international organisations and agencies, research and academic institutions to help expand awareness and support, convert political will into action and deliver comprehensive and cohesive solutions.
Playing our part
By placing cancer at the heart of national health plans, governments have the power to save millions of lives.
Policy makers have the legal and regulatory power to enact policies that can reduce exposure to cancer risk factors, encourage early detection and diagnosis of cancers, and improve access and availability of essential cancer medicines and quality cancer care.
Working alongside patients, families, healthcare providers and civil society, governments can implement effective policies and programmes that addresses their country’s unique situation, needs and resources.
With 66% of the world’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, the quality of the urban environment will increasingly determine the quality of public health. In many cities across the world, mayors and urban policy makers are collaborating more than ever before on innovative solutions for creating and sustaining healthy cities. One of the clearest examples is the creation of smoke free environments, from indoor workplaces, public places and on public transport. Cities can also support people to be physically active by making cycling and walking safe and accessible, providing universal access to safe, inclusive, accessible green and public spaces, and improving overall air quality.
There is a huge opportunity to use the workplace to drive cancer prevention and early detection1. Workplaces of all sizes can adopt policies and programmes that empower employees to adopt healthier behaviours through providing access to healthy food options, promoting active transport to and from work, and increasing movement in the workplace, through use of stairs2. Wellness programmes can also promote early detection by using communications channels to share information about the signs and symptoms of some cancers and where appropriate, encourage and support participation in cancer screening programmes for early diagnosis.
Healthy habits and behaviours established at a young age and at adolescence can last a lifetime. Every school can foster a culture of healthy choices and habits by providing nutritious food and drink choices, as well as time for recreation and sport, and putting practical education about food, physical activity, and the cancer risks of smoking and alcohol consumption on the school curriculum.
Fast fact: Smoke-free workplaces reduces our exposure to second-hand smoke by 80-90%3.
1. UICC, Bupa. (2014). Cancer – It’s everyone’s business
2. NCD Alliance (2016). Realising the potential of workplaces to prevent and control NCDs
3. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Tobacco Control, Vol. 13: Evaluating the effectiveness of smoke-free policies (2009: Lyon, France)