The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign works to address the global cancer burden.
The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit served as the landmark event of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign, which the Lance Armstrong Foundation launched in January to address the global cancer burden.
The meeting, held in Dublin, Ireland, in late August, attracted around 500 people and set the stage for world leaders, organizations, and advocates to announce progress and introduce new efforts to control cancer incidence.
Lance Armstrong’s goal in returning to professional cycling was to raise awareness of the global cancer burden and support the 28 million people living with cancer worldwide, says LAF spokesperson Maeve Sloane.
“As Lance competes around the world, we are able to reach international audiences and strengthen the global campaign’s message,” she says, adding that after Armstrong competed in the Giro d’Italia and urged the Italian community to join the fight against cancer, traffic to www.livestrong.org saw a 403 percent increase in visitors, with a particular spike in traffic from Italy.
Leading up to the Summit, the LAF encouraged government leaders, individuals, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to make a difference in their countries, resulting in significant promises to fight cancer in more than 65 nations. An interactive map on the LAF website (www.livestrong.org/commitmentmap) provides details of cancer control commitments from around the globe.
The LAF encouraged governments to make new obligations that could be highlighted at the Summit, and also worked with NGOs in target countries to encourage their governments to make commitments. As a result, cancer commitments have been made to address broad areas of cancer control, including cervical cancer prevention, breast cancer, adolescents and young adults, research initiatives, palliative care, and underserved populations.
Before the Summit, the LAF highlighted commitments in numerous cancer control areas, with the most significant and outstanding ones featured during the three-day meeting in Dublin, some of which are highlighted below.
Research and Physician Training Initiatives
Organizations and world leaders have made commitments to increase and improve cancer research and cancer care by establishing research facilities, physician training programs, and setting aside funding for these initiatives. Examples of commitments to cancer research and training include:
Cervical Cancer Awareness and Prevention
Advocates and organizations from Argentina, Guyana, Kenya, Tanzania, the United States, and Zambia made commitments to address cervical cancer in areas with limited resources. Efforts include providing free Pap tests for early detection, raising awareness about prevention and human papillomavirus (HPV), which is responsible for most cervical cancers, and disseminating information and educational booklets on cervical cancer. A few examples of those efforts include:
> Liga Argentina de Lucha Contra el Cancer in Argentina
> Medical Women Association of Tanzania
> The Pink Ribbon Initiative in Kenya
> Jhpiego in Guyana
> Center for Infectious Disease Research in Zambia (CIDRZ)
Adolescents and Young Adults
Cancer survival rates for adolescents and young adults, often referred to as AYAs, have remained stagnant for more than 30 years. New commitments aimed at AYAs include initiatives to improve services and support, influence national policy, train and educate health care professionals about the unique needs of AYAs, and create a care model for AYAs with cancer. A few examples of commitments include:
> CanTeen Australia
> Teen Cancer Trust in the United Kingdom
> Little People Association, Romania / TEMERARII Club for Romanian Adolescent Cancer Survivors
> CLIC Sargent in the United Kingdom
> Young Adults Circle of Survivorship in Germany
New breast cancer commitments focus on reduced mortality rates, specialized outreach to underprivileged women, free mammography, and information and practical tools that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being to the newly diagnosed. Examples of breast cancer commitments include:
> FEMAMA - Federação Brasileira de Instituições Filantrópicas de Apoio à Saúde da Mama in Brazil
> Princess Nikky Breast Cancer Foundation in Nigeria
> The Ormylia Foundation, Center for Disease Prevention, Panagia Philanthropini in Greece
Palliative care has gained more attention and resources over the past few years, and a loss of momentum isn’t likely with the recent commitments to palliative care for cancer patients, such as establishing internationally recognized standards for palliative care, adopting a national budget for organizing and funding palliative care services, developing a university palliative care training program, and ensuring that every cancer patient in pain has access to palliative care by 2010. Examples of commitments to palliative care include:
> Palliative Care Association “Humanists’ Union” in Tbilisi, Georgia
> Lebanese Cancer Society in Lebanon
> Hospice Casa Sperantei in Romania
> The Sheperd’s Hospice Sierra Leone
> Cairdeas Trust and Makerere University in Uganda
Organizations from countries around the globe are making cancer commitments to reach out to underserved populations to improve cancer diagnosis and care, promote cancer awareness and prevention, and provide HPV vaccinations to girls in Haiti and Lesotho. Examples of cancer commitments to underserved populations include:
Tobacco Control and Lung Cancer
Strict tobacco control and initiatives to decrease smoking rates go hand-in-hand with raising awareness on lung cancer risks and prevention. New commitments in this area involve establishing support programs at universities to help students quit smoking, reducing the stigma and lack of awareness associated with lung cancer, facilitating early detection, building grassroots awareness through an anti-tobacco media campaign, and encouraging governments to establish smoke-free public places. Examples of commitments to lung cancer and tobacco control include:
> Unión Antitabáquica Argentina (Argentine Anti-Tobacco Union)
> The Australian Lung Foundation
> Non-Smokers’ Rights Association of Nepal
> Chinese Association on Tobacco Control
> Pan-American Health Organization and the Trinity Medical Teaching Center in Argentina
> PREVENIR Association in Senegal