Pledge to Prevent this World Cancer Day
Published 4 Feb 2015
Today (4th Feb) is World Cancer Day , a day of action, awareness raising and fundraising as we unite in our efforts to beat cancer. World Cancer Day was established under the Charter of Paris against Cancer back in 2000. The Charter contains 10 articles that outlined a cooperative global commitment to improving the quality of life of cancer patients and to the continued investment in, and advancement of, cancer research, prevention and treatment (1). In 2015, the need for prevention has never been more important.
Back in 2000, it was predicted that by 2020, globally, 20 million new cases of cancer would emerge each year (1). Sadly this figure does not appear to have diminished despite enormous efforts. Today, Cancer Research UK, using a new method of calculation, predicts that half of us will get cancer at some point in our lives (2). The “good news” is that many of us will survive. Cancer Research UK state that there is an “the urgent need to bolster public health and NHS cancer services so they can cope with a growing and ageing population and the looming demands for better diagnostics, treatments, and earlier diagnosis.” They also state that “prevention must also play an important role in the concerted effort required to reduce the impact of the disease in coming decades.”
But here in the UK ‘prevention’ always seems to be the poor cousin to diagnosis and treatment. According to National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) statistics, whilst cancer research funding has more than doubled from £257m in 2002 to £507m in 2013, research spending on prevention accounted for just 3.6% in 2013, research into the aetiology (or causes) of cancer dropped significantly and investigation into the ‘exogenous’ or environmental causes of cancers accounted for only 1.2% of total spend (3).
Yet, the World Health Organisation (WHO), believe that 30% of cancers could be prevented (4) As well as promoting healthier lifestyles they also suggest that more effort must be made to tackle carcinogenic chemicals in our air, environment and soil. The WHO report on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals also points to the need to address the threat posed by hormone disrupting chemicals in everyday products which may also be contributing to the rising rates of cancer. (5)
NHS England has established a new independent taskforce to develop a five-year action plan for cancer services (6) Breast Cancer UK will be asking that Task Force to re-examine the role of prevention and to bolster not only cancer services but to plough more into research into prevention and the environmental causes of cancer.
But we need your help. Today we are asking our supporters to tell us who they are thinking about this World Cancer Day and to make a small donation to help us continue our campaign to help prevent breast cancer.
Share your pictures on our FaceBook and Twitter pages using the hashtag #picturesforprevention and nominate 3 of your friends to do the same. Let’s unite to stop breast cancer before it starts. For donations, just text BCUK01 followed by the amount (e.g. £5) to 70070.
(1) Charter of Paris against Cancer (2000) http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0011/001191/119111eo.pdf
(2) CARUK (2015) '1 in 2 people in the UK will get cancer' http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-us/cancer-news/press-release/2015-02-04-1-in-2-people-in-the-uk-will-get-cancer (last accessed 04/02/2015)
(3) NCRI Cancer Research Database: 2002-2013 (Date of Access Jan 22 2015). http://www.ncri.org.uk/what-we-do/research-database
(4) http://www.who.int/cancer/en/ (last accessed 04/02/2015)
(5) UNEP/WHO (2013). State of the science of endocrine disrupting chemicals 2012 http://www.unep.org/hazardoussubstances/Portals/9/EDC/StateOfEDCScience.pdf
(6) 'NHS launches new bid to beat cancer and save thousands of lives' 11th January 2015 http://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/01/11/beat-cancer/ (last accessed 04/02/2015)