Second Quarter 2017

INCTR Leads a Group of NGOs in Convincing Commonwealth Health Ministers of the Importance of Cancers Associated with Chronic Infection

In response to calls from an informal coalition of over 70 non-governmental organisations and individuals led by INCTR, Ministers of Health of member countries of the British Commonwealth and their representatives, uterine cervical cancer and children’s cancers were put on the agenda of the recent meeting in Geneva (21 May 2017).  Experienced leaders from a number of NGOs including the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer, Cancer Association of South Africa, Childhood Cancer International, International Gynecological Cancer Society, International Society of Paediatric oncology (SIOP), PATH, Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, St Jude Global, UICC, World Child Cancer, as well as  clinicians, academicians and cancer advocates from 27 countries joined INCTR in composing a letter to Baroness Scotland, the newly appointed Commonwealth Secretary General.  In this letter, a later version of which was published in a strongly worded editorial written by David Collingridge in the April 2017 issue of Lancet Oncology, the Commonwealth was urged to to share its extensive experience of childhood cancer and to use its widely dispersed membership to support the scaling up of HPV vaccination and cervical cancer screening.  They also expressed agreement to investigate further the possible links between chronic infections and childhood cancer.   Malaria has recently been definitively shown to be a causal factor in the commonest childhood cancer in equatorial Africa, Burkitt Lymphoma, a disease which accounts for more than half of all childhood cancers in malarial endemic regions.  

At the meeting in Geneva, chaired by the Hon Dr George Pamboridis (Minister of Health of Cyprus), the Hon Prof Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health for the Federal Government of Nigeria and formerly President AORTIC, made an effective presentation on the issue of Cervical Cancer. Commonwealth Ministers have now agreed that the theme for the next CHMM in 2018 should be "Enhancing the global fight against NCDs; raising awareness, mobilising resources and ensuring accessibility to universal coverage".

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