2018 World Cancer Congress in Southeast Asia mobilises over 2,500 experts in public health to discuss cancer control

From 1-4 October, more than 2,500 public health experts from over 120 countries convened in Kuala Lumpur at the 2018 World Cancer Congress (WCC). The event, organised by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), saw a record 57 cancer organisations participating throughout the week, with government ministers, CEOs, royalty, non-profit leaders, campaigners, and academics in attendance.

Taking place for the first time in Southeast Asia under the theme “Strengthen. Inspire. Deliver.” the 2018WCC served as a unique platform to share knowledge and best practices in the global fight against cancer. Delegates presented on their latest research and initiatives, with master courses and networking opportunities held throughout the week to transform shared ideas into impactful action.

Highlights from the week:

Treatment for All

Under the Congress’ umbrella, on 1 October took place the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit (WCLS). During this high-level policy forum 300 public health leaders took the opportunity to demonstrate their support for the UICC’s ‘Treatment for All’ advocacy campaign by highlighting the success of collaborative global action against cancer so far as well as calling for that momentum to be strengthened going forward. Addressing the 2018WCC’s Opening Ceremony, the UICC President, Prof. Sanchia Aranda, highlighted the progress being made in the development of crucially important National Cancer Control Plans alongside the successes of increased access to cost effective cancer drugs and technologies. World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros used his Opening Ceremony address to call for cervical cancer to be consigned to the history books within this lifetime with increased vaccination implementation and effective screening programmes.

UICC CEO Cary Adams said:

“We’ve witnessed so many reasons to be optimistic about the future of equitable global cancer care during this World Cancer Congress. However, we need to build on this momentum by strengthening our collaborative action on creating and improving National Cancer Control Plans to ensure that other countries are able to follow suit.”

City Cancer Challenge

WCLS marked UICC’s official invitation to Asian cities with a population of over 1m to be a part of the next phase of ‘City Cancer Challenge’. This UICC’s global initiative seeks to build a collective movement of cities supported by a strong network of local and international partners to deliver quality, equitable, and sustainable cancer treatment solutions for all. Since the launch of the City Cancer Challenge in 2017, the first four Key Learning Cities have been mobilising the initiative’s network of global and local partners to develop and implement localised action plans, tailored to the needs of each city. 

UICC Incoming President HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan said:

“The united efforts of our cities and partners have allowed us to refine the [City Cancer Challenge] initiative’s methodology – from the assessment of needs to prioritisation, planning, and financing – so that we can make a tangible impact in the fight against cancer on an even bigger scale.”

UICC Awards

This Congress also saw the launch of the first UICC Awards to recognise and celebrate the work that UICC member organisations are doing in their home countries across 5 categories: Advocacy, CEO, Collaboration, Fundraising, and World Cancer Day Spirit. The UICC received 198 submissions from 117 organisations with finalists being selected based on impact, replicability, collaboration, and innovation. The UICC Awards winners are:

  • Advocacy: Cancer Council New South Wales for their ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign
  • CEO: Pat Garcia-Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of The Max Foundation, USA
  • Collaboration: The African Palliative Care Association for their initiative to support the implementation of national palliative care policies in Southern Africa
  • Fundraising: King Hussein Cancer Foundation’s for their ‘Restaurant Care Program’
  • World Cancer Day Spirit: Project PINK BLUE in Nigeria
  • World Cancer Day Spirit - Judge's Commendation La Liga Portuguesa Contro o Cancr ("Portuguese League Against Cancer")

The next WCC will be held 19-22 October 2020 in Muscat, Oman, under the theme ‘The Way Forward’.


Notes to editor

*For media inquiries or interview requests, contact the UICC Press Team

UICCPress-Maitland@maitland.co.uk +44 (0)7795 401 027*

About the World Cancer Congress

A key event in the global cancer control agenda, the biennial World Cancer Congress (WCC) is a recognised unique international conference that encourages effective knowledge transfer and best-practices exchange amongst global cancer control and health experts. The event aims to strengthen the action and impact of the cancer community on national, regional and international scales through its educational programme which spans the full spectrum of cancer - from prevention and treatment to palliative care. The Congress was awarded 'Best Conference Development' at the 2016 International & European Associations Awards and 'Best use of social media' at the 2017 Association Excellence Awards.

About the Union for International Cancer Control

The Union for International Cancer Control's (UICC) rapidly increasing membership base of over 1,070 organisations in more than 160 countries, represents the world’s major cancer societies, ministries of health and patient groups and includes influential policy makers, researchers and experts in cancer prevention and control. UICC also boasts more than 50 strategic partners. The organisation is dedicated to taking the lead in conveningcapacity building and advocacy initiatives that unite the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, promote greater equity, and integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda. 

About UICC CEO Cary Adams

Born in London, Cary Adams has a BSc Honours degree in Economics, Computing and Statistics from the University of Bath, United Kingdom and a Masters degree (with Distinction) in Business Administration. He is a Harvard Business School Alumni having attended the School’s Executive General Management programme in 2003. In 2009, Cary made a career change, moving from the management of international businesses in the banking sector to become CEO of UICC based in Geneva. In 2014 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in International Relations from the University for Business and International Studies in Geneva, and in 2015 an Honorary Doctorate in Health from Bath University in the UK. In May 2015, Cary was awarded ‘CEO of the year’ at the International and European Association conference organised by the Associations Network.

About UICC Incoming President HRH Princess Dina Mired

HRH Princess Dina is a mother of a cancer survivor and well-known global advocate for cancer control and non-communicable diseases in Jordan. She is a former Director General of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation, Honorary Chair of the global steering committee for Tobacco Free Portfolios, and Honorary President of the Harvard University Global Task Force for Expanded Access to Cancer Control and Care in the Developing World.

About Treatment for All

Building on commitments made in the 2017 WHO Cancer Resolution, the Treatment for All campaign addresses the global equity gap in access to cancer services by supporting stronger health systems. Identifying four pillars to support strong health systems, Treatment for All focuses on improving data for public health planning, access to early detection and diagnosis, timely and accurate treatment, and supportive and palliative care. This campaign aims to help create stronger healthcare systems that support countries to deliver universal health coverage and will help to ensure that people worldwide will be able to access the cancer services that they need.

About City Cancer Challenge

Launched in January 2017, City Cancer Challenge is a multi-sectoral initiative supporting cities to take the lead in the design, planning and implementation of cancer treatment solutions. City Cancer Challenge aims to increase the number of people with access to quality cancer treatment in cities around the world through a network of motivated partners including city leaders, governments, NGOs, UN agencies, and domestic and international businesses. City Cancer Challenge has been conceived to address the urgent need to turn political commitments made at the global level into fully functional, comprehensive cancer solutions, which can reach the majority of the world’s population. City Cancer Challenge is already working with a group of 'Key Learning Cities', including Cali, Asunción, Yangon, and Kumasi. Beginning in 2018, the ambition is to scale-up support to a wide network of 'Challenge Cities' that have a population greater than 1 million, in every region.

About the UICC Awards winners

Advocacy: Cancer Council New South Wales for their ‘I Care for Palliative Care’ campaign. This campaign was developed in recognition of the fact that the state had fewer palliative physicians and palliative care nurses than were needed to meet the palliative care demands of the NSW community. This meant that some people with life-limiting cancer were being denied quality of life and were unable to die in the place of their choosing. Moreover, Aboriginal people remained disadvantaged by limited access to specialist palliative care that fits with their community values, beliefs, rituals, heritage and place.

CEO: Pat Garcia-Gonzalez, Chief Executive Officer of The Max Foundation, USA. For more than 20 years, Pat Garcia-Gonzalez has been dedicated to improving the lives of people facing a cancer diagnosis around the world. Pat is the co-founder of The Max Foundation, which started in 1997 in honour of her step-son, Max. Under her direction since 2005, The Max Foundation provides thousands of patients in 70 low-and middle-income countries with over a million defined daily doses of life-saving cancer treatment.

Collaboration: The African Palliative Care Association for their initiative to support the implementation of national palliative care policies in Southern Africa. Project activities concentrated on awareness creation and capacity building of health care workers in Swaziland and Mozambique and lawyers in Zimbabwe over a one-year period (April 2017 - March 2018). In Mozambique and Swaziland, key interventions included: the development of model sites for palliative care provision and improvement of referral systems through capacity building of 66 health care and their referral sites. In Zimbabwe, the focus was on the integration of human rights and legal support into existing palliative care services through palliative care awareness creation for 40 lawyers from 16 legal institutions, as well as the training of 17 lawyers on palliative care.

Fundraising: King Hussein Cancer Foundation’s (KHCF) for their Restaurant Care Program (RCP). The RCP is an innovative and sustainable fundraising programme which invites restaurants to incorporate a fixed contribution to the KHCF as a line item on their meal bills, enabling restaurants guests to join in the fight against cancer. The programme has raised US$5.25m since 2007.

World Cancer Day Spirit: Project PINK BLUE in Nigeria was selected for their clear commitment to the World Cancer Day spirit of collaboration. They brought together more than 70 cancer organisations, government departments, businesses, media, and other influencers to deliver powerful impact on World Cancer Day 2018 which has helped to change lives.

World Cancer Day Spirit - Judge's Commendation In an exceptional decision, La Liga Portuguesa Contro o Cancro was awarded with a commendation for their extremely impressive media partnerships which ran wide and deep, achieving strong media cut-through. La Liga Portuguesa Contro o Cancro’s campaign, which was underpinned by more than 100 partnerships, made it almost impossible for the people of Portugal not to encounter World Cancer Day 2018.

About the 2018-2020 Board of Directors

At the UICC’s General Assembly, held as part of the 2018 World Cancer Congress, UICC full members voted for the 2018-2020 Board of Directors as follows:

President-elect: Professor Anil D'Cruz, India

Board of Directors:

  1. Dr Wahid AlKharusi, Oman
  2. Ms Ulrika Årehed Kågström, Sweden
  3. Ms Sally Cowal, United States
  4. Professor Jeff Dunn, Australia
  5. Professor Daiming Fan, China
  6. Dr Cristiana Fonseca, Portugal
  7. Mr Nick Grant, United Kingdom
  8. Professor Anne Lee, Hong Kong
  9. Dr Alejandro Mohar, Mexico
  10. Dr Ana Cristina Pinho Mendes Pereira, Brazil
  11. Professor Danielle Rodin, Canada
  12. Dr Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, Nigeria
  13. Dr Saunthari Somasundaram, Malaysia
  14. Mrs Ann Steyn, South Africa


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