World Cancer Day: Fred Hutch joins international ‘day of action’

This year the worldwide initiative aims to dispel damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer as it raises awareness of global actions against the disease

The Hutchinson Center observed World Cancer Day Monday, Feb. 4 by spotlighting its partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute to address the high burden of infection-caused cancers in that country. A front-page highlight on the Center’s public website leads to the UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance web page and a video produced by Clayton Hibbert and Phil Meadows in Collaborative Data Services. Shot at UCI last fall, it reveals the partnership story and the importance of our work there from the perspective of Fred Hutch and UCI caregivers.

You can also visit the World Cancer Day website where you can choose various ways to take action to help raise awareness of the need for cancer to be higher on the international health agenda.

The sponsor of World Cancer Day is the Geneva-based Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), of which Fred Hutch is a member. Dr. Ben Anderson, a University of Washington breast surgeon and researcher in the Public Health Sciences Division, is a UICC board member.

"World Cancer Day is the single initiative under which the entire world can unite in the global fight against cancer," he said. "It is also an international day of action to increase awareness about the disease and to understand and acknowledge its impact worldwide."

World Cancer Declaration

This year’s campaign focuses on "Target 5" of the World Cancer Declaration: dispel damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer under the tagline “Cancer – Did you know?" Four cancer myths are highlighted:

  1. Cancer is just a health issue.
  2. Cancer is a disease of the wealthy, elderly, and developed countries.
  3. Cancer is a death sentence.
  4. Cancer is my fate.

Uganda’s experience with cancer, like much of sub-Saharan Africa and other less developed parts of the world, belies myth No. 2. A statistic oft-cited by UCI/Hutchinson Center Cancer Alliance co-director Dr. Corey Casper is that 70 percent of cancer cases will occur in low- and middle-resource countries by 2020. Cancer mortality is significantly higher in low-income countries. In addition, cancers caused by infections—which account for about 22 percent of all cancers—occur more frequently in these countries. In Uganda, six of the 10 most common cancers are related to infectious disease.

The hope, Casper said, is that the collaborative research, training, and treatment program between Fred Hutch and UCI will lead to more effective ways to treat these cancers that will benefit people all over the world.

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