UN cancer summit represents 'once-in-a-generation chance'

8 September 2011

A worldwide cancer charity has claimed the upcoming United Nations (UN) Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) represents a rare opportunity to further advance cancer treatment and avoid a public health disaster.

World Cancer Research Fund argued it is a "once-in-a-generation" chance to tackle the disease, along with the global rise in diabetes as well as heart and respiratory diseases.

The charity claimed that global cancer diagnosis rates have risen to 12 million new cases a year, an increase of 20 per cent in less than a decade, while the number of global cancers linked to diet, weight and levels of physical activity currently stands at 2.8 million per year.

"With millions of lives at risk around the world, the stakes are incredibly high," commented Professor Martin Wiseman, medical and scientific advisor for the charity.

He added that while it is a global issue, in the UK, people are being diagnosed with cancers "that could have been prevented".

The charity's call echoed similar appeals from researchers writing in the Lancet in a series of special reports on the global obesity epidemic. Among the papers, Steven Gortmaker, professor of health sociology at Harvard, called for a global effort to increase taxes on high calorie foods while decreasing those on healthier options.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

1 World Cancer Research Fund, "Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: A global Perspective". American Institute for Cancer Research. Ongoing publication at http://www.dietandcancerreport.org/ .

2 Gortmaker, Steven L., "Changing the Future of Obesity: Science, Policy, and Action". The Lancet. Friday August 27th 2011.

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