Cancer prevention and palliation are the new frontiers of cancer control

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Published: 18 Dec 2014
Views: 3449
Dr Otis Webb Brawley - Chief Medical Officer, American Cancer Society

Dr Brawley talks to ecancertv at the UICC World Cancer Congress 2014 about how the time has come to invest in cancer prevention and palliative care.


I’ve seen the UICC grow over the last twenty years; I’ve seen meetings where we only had three or four hundred people. This time there’s nearly 3,000 people here, a lot of major organisations. We’re actually starting to educate a lot of smaller organisations in a number of countries. The cancer community is actually finally coming together; now we need to focus on things like how we can prevent cancer, how we can palliate more people who have pain from cancer, how we can get better treatments around the world.

Cancer is a serious problem worldwide; 23,000 people die every day from it. We need to actually focus on probably half of those deaths actually can be prevented. We need to focus on smoking cessation, prevent people from ever adapting the habit of using tobacco. We need to focus especially in Western Europe and the United States on diet and physical activity. We’ve found that obesity is a huge driver of cancer in the United States. We need to get serious about preventing the cancers that we can prevent; we need to get serious about treating the cancers that we can treat and palliating the cancers that need to be palliated.

What I just outlined for you really is an international strategy; I think all the organisations are buying into it. The one thing that has come from these international meetings is people have actually started to realise that this is actually a reasonable thing for all of us to support. The American Cancer Society is a leader in this movement, we really want to talk about cancer as well as all the non-communicable diseases. Quite honestly heart disease and diabetes which are also worldwide problems have the same root causes and some of the same root solutions.

I think the UICC is going to continue to grow; I think our movement is going to continue to grow and we are going to get some momentum. I actually think that we will start seeing some of the fruits of our labours, we’re going to start seeing some mortality rates that actually do start levelling off and going down over the next five to ten years.