World Cancer Day: WHO outlines steps to save 7 million lives from cancer

4 February, 2020

Thanks to our HIFA Social Media team, led by Jules Storr, who have tweeted in support of World Cancer Day 4th February. The availability and use of reliable healthcare information is critical for prevention, early diagnosis, appropriate referral and treatment, and one day I hope we shall have a dedicated HIFA project on this (£5k for 1 year). Please retweet:

1. On #WorldCancerDay @hifa_org pledges to raise the public and political literacy and understanding around cancer. This will reduce fear, increase understanding, dispel myths and misconceptions, and change behaviors and attitudes. #IAmAndIWill #HealthInfo4All #HealthForAll

2. To achieve #UHC equal access to cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care can save millions of lives. #WorldCancerDay #IAmAndIWill #HealthInfo4All #HealthForAll @hifa_org

WHO has issued the following News Release today. Read in full online:

The World Health Organization (WHO) today spells out the need to step up cancer services in low and middle-income countries. WHO warns that, if current trends continue, the world will see a 60% increase in cancer cases over the next two decades. The greatest increase (an estimated 81%) in new cases will occur in low- and middle-income countries, where survival rates are currently lowest...

“This is a wake-up call to all of us to tackle the unacceptable inequalities between cancer services in rich and poor countries,” says Dr Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General, Universal Health Coverage/ Communicable and Noncommunicable Diseases, World Health Organization. “If people have access to primary care and referral systems then cancer can be detected early, treated effectively and cured. Cancer should not be a death sentence for anyone, anywhere.”

Yet, progress in poorer countries is achievable. WHO and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) are releasing two coordinated reports on World Cancer Day (4 February), in response to government calls for more research into the scope and potential policies and programmes to improve cancer control.

“At least 7 million lives could be saved over the next decade, by identifying the most appropriate science for each country situation, by basing strong cancer responses on universal health coverage, and by mobilizing different stakeholders to work together”, said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO.

WHO highlights a wide range of proven interventions to prevent new cancer cases. These include controlling tobacco use (responsible for 25% of cancer deaths), vaccinating against hepatitis B to prevent liver cancer, eliminating cervical cancer by vaccinating against HPV, screening and treatment, implementing high-impact cancer management interventions that bring value for money and ensuring access to palliative care including pain relief...

Report on Cancer: Setting priorities, investing wisely and providing care for all

The report aims to set the global agenda on cancer, mobilize stakeholders and help countries set priorities for investing in cancer control and universal health coverage. It introduces the principles, tools and current priority cancer control interventions in the context of the current and future cancer burden and opportunities.

International Agency for Research on Cancer

World Cancer Report “Cancer research for cancer prevention”

The report focuses on prevention and offers the most comprehensive overview of relevant research available to date, ranging from descriptive etiology, cellular and molecular biology, toxicology and pathology through to behavioural and social science. Key chapters include discussions on the impact of inequalities in cancer, vaccination and screening, genomic individual susceptibility to cancer and the finer identification of those at risk, which may allow ‘precision cancer prevention’.


Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA:

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: