Sign up for a cancer-free world

Support World Cancer Day by signing the World Cancer Declaration, a global call for action to reduce the cancer burden by 2020.

2011 is an important year, not only for the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa), but also for the greater global cancer community. With the United Nations Summit for Non-Communicable Diseases taking place in September, member countries of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) will put the global cancer burden on the UN’s agenda by getting a million people to sign a declaration against cancer.

The UICC is the leading non-governmental organisation dedicated exclusively to global cancer control and works to achieve 11 targets by 2020 including: significant drops in global tobacco consumption; universal vaccination programmes for hepatitis B and human papilloma virus and universal availability of effective pain medication. 

Launched in 2006 and revised in 2008,  the World Cancer Declaration is a tool to help bring the growing cancer crisis to the attention of government leaders and health policymakers in order to significantly reduce the global cancer burden by 2020. It represents a consensus between government officials, public health experts and cancer advocates from around the world who are committed to eliminating cancer as a life-threatening disease for future generations.

Says Dr Eduardo Cazap, President of UICC: "Support World Cancer Day by signing the World Cancer Declaration and help us achieve the goal of one million supporters for a cancer-free world.  With individuals, governments and policy makers of the world working together, we have the ability to ease the global burden of cancer now and for future generations.”

SA campaign launch
Cansa will take the lead in South Africa and launch the campaign on 4 February, with the signing of the declaration by Sue Janse van Rensburg, Cansa CEO and cancer survivor of over 27 years.    

“More than ever before there is a need for a concerted and coordinated fight against cancer and I believe that Cansa can play an important part by signing the UICC declaration,” says Janse van Rensburg. “This will create a global platform for cancer awareness and governmental support,” she says. The initiative will be followed in cities, towns and smaller communities throughout the country for the duration of the campaign.

Why is it important in South Africa?

  • Up to 40% of preventable cancers in the world occur in low and middle income countries of which South Africa forms part.
  • Research shows that up to 90% of cancers are caused by environmental factors.
  • One in four South Africans are affected by cancer.
  • One in eight women and one in six men in South Africa are at risk of being diagnosed with cancer.
  • Top cancers affecting South African males are: prostate, lung, and cancer of the oesophagus.
  • Top cancers affecting South African females are: breast, cervix, and colorectal cancer.
  • South Africa has the second highest incidence of skin cancer in the world after Australia.
  • Over 700 South Africans die every year of skin cancer. 

Cancer kills more people than Aids, Malaria, and TB combined and the death toll is set to rise dramatically in the coming decades.

Says Janse van Rensburg: "The aim is to get as many South Africans as possible to give their signatures and signing the declaration for a cancer-free society. We are part of a global campaign. At a recent UICC congress in China in 2010, Cansa made a Bronze pledge to collect up to 500 signatures, but we know we can collect more. We are calling on all South Africans to help us achieve the most possible signatures and change the lives of thousands.”

Here's how you can sign up:

Sign the World Cancer Declaration online, download the form from Cansa's website and fax to 086 512 8589 or visit your nearest Cansa office and sign the pledge. 

 (Sources: Cansa and IUCC)

- (compiled by Birgit Ottermann, Health24, February 2011) 

Read more:

Our cancer-causing world
Lifestyle and diet as causal factors of cancer
16 ways to avoid cancer

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