Cancer Control Program Launched for Developing Nations

The World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency announced the launch of their Joint Programme on Cancer Control on Tuesday. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei said cooperation is needed to address the "growing global cancer crisis."

The World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency have launched a Joint Programme on Cancer Control, with leaders of both organizations saying broad cooperation is the only answer for a world cancer "crisis," in their words. According to WHO, 7.6 million people died of cancer in 2005 and 84 million people, most living in poor countries, will die in the next 10 years if action is not taken now. WHO says currently available knowledge could prevent at least a third of cancer cases, while another third could be detected early and cured.

"In low- and middle-income countries, cancer overwhelmingly affects the poor. This has huge implications for human suffering, health systems, health budgets and the drive to reduce poverty," WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan said as she signed the agreement with IAEA Director General Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei.

“The IAEA has long provided radiation technology and expertise to developing countries, but radiotherapy alone cannot halt the growing global cancer crisis," said ElBaradei. "The Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy was created to help build a broader, more integrated approach to cancer care and control. The joint programme with WHO underlines our conviction that only through combined effort and collaboration can we bring hope and relief to those whose lives are threatened by cancer."

IAEA's Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) was created in June 2004 to identify and assess countries' most pressing cancer needs so partners and donors could effectively respond. WHO and the American Cancer Society are partner agencies in PACT.

The WHO/IAEA program will focus on six model demonstration sites in Albania, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Viet Nam, and Yemen.

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