The International Union Against Cancer – Global Cancer Control

Asia-Pacific Oncology & Haematology, 2008;1(1):16-7


Cancer is the second leading cause of worldwide mortality. Each year, more than 11 million new cases are diagnosed. Seven million of those diagnosed will die from cancer, with over 70% of these cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries.1 In addition to the emotional and financial burden cancer places on families, the disease is costly for societies and threatens development, especially when it involves individuals who are economically active. The incidence of cancer is on the rise worldwide, reasons for which appear to vary from region to region. Increased physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and exposure to tobacco use are some of the causes of this increase. Infections with viruses such as hepatitis B (HBV), which causes liver cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, are important risk factors for developing cancer in low- and middle-income countries. In addition, at least 152,000 cancer deaths are linked to occupational carcinogens.1 Over 40% of all deaths can be prevented by appropriate changes in lifestyle and environement. Many millions of deaths due to cancer could be prevented if these cases were identified early and treated effectively. This is particularly true of breast and cervical cancer. The technology for screening, diagnosing and treating these diseases is much more advanced, providing an opportunity to prevent the number of cancer deaths from rising. The International Union Against Cancer (UICC) is an international non-governmental organisation with almost 300 members, dedicated to the global control of cancer. It works to lead the worldwide cancer community in: sharing and exchanging knowledge and competence; transferring scientific findings to clinical, patient and public settings; systematically reducing and eliminating disparities in prevention, early detection and treatment; and delivering the best possible care to people living with cancer throughout the world. The UICC focuses its work on four strategic areas: cancer prevention and control; tobacco control; knowledge transfer; and capacity building and supportive care.