AICR Supports World Cancer Day

Marilyn Gentry, President of the American Institute for Cancer Research, writes in support of UICC and this year’s topic of cancer prevention.

Here at AICR and across the WCRF global network, we are proud to be supporting World Cancer Day on February 4, 2011.

We have long been supporters of the work of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and we are delighted by its decision to focus this year’s World Cancer Day on the fact that many cases of cancer could be prevented.

This is because prevention is key to the work of the AICR. Through our research and education programs, we are dedicated to giving people the information they need to make lifestyle changes that can reduce their cancer risk.

AICR, together with the rest of the WCRF global network promotes the fact that about a third of the most common cancers could be prevented through eating a healthy diet, being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight.

But still too few people are aware of this potentially lifesaving message. I very much hope that World Cancer Day can play an important part of making more people aware that cancer is preventable and AICR and our international affiliates will be working to support UICC in making this happen

After all, this message is needed now more than ever because experts predict the number of cancers cases diagnosed globally each year will increase from 12.7 million to 26 million by 2030. The biggest increases are expected to happen in low and middle-income countries.

The fact that World Cancer Day is focusing on cancer prevention would be welcome news in any year. But I am particularly pleased it is happening in 2011.

This is because in September the United Nations will hold an historic Non-communicable Disease Summit, which will focus on cancer and other chronic diseases.

If it is a success, the summit could make a real difference to the lives of people around the world. If it results in positive action from governments around the world, it could mean that in the future many people are spared the distress of being told that they or a loved one has cancer.

This is why between now and September, organizations focused on cancer need to make the case that the summit should set out a bold plan for cancer prevention that includes ambitious and measurable targets.

World Cancer Day and the publicity around it are a great opportunity to make that case.

If we are able to grasp that opportunity, it could mean that in years to come we will look back at 2011 as a year that was pivotal in the long fight against cancer.