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Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 09:52 GMT 10:52 UK
'Cancer battle must go global'
Cancer scanner
More than 70% of the world's cancer cases will occur in countries with 5% of resources
Hundreds of thousands of lives could be saved each year if governments fought cancer together, say charity bosses.

They warn that in less than 20 years the equivalent of the entire population of Greece - 10m people - will die annually from cancer.

But more than 70% of the world's cases will occur in the countries with less than 5% of the world's cancer resources.

Now three of the world's top cancer chiefs are using the Third Global Conference for Cancer Organisations to call on world governments to take action against the disease.

We have a responsibility in the developed world to share our discoveries and progress with our neighbours across the globe

Sir Paul Nurse, of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund

Global action

Sir Paul Nurse - director general of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, Professor Gordon McVie - director general of the Cancer Research Campaign and Dr John Seffrin, president elect of the International Union Against Cancer, said action needed to be taken now to ensure all patients get the drugs they need wherever they live.

And they called on the governments of richer nations to help struggling countries shoulder their drugs budgets.

Sir Paul said the developed countries had a responsibility to help those less well off.

"I believe, for the first time, we are turning the corner on the cancer problem," he said.

"The revolution in genetics and the unravelling of the human genome will bring radical new treatments and cures for cancer patients.

"We have a responsibility in the developed world to share our discoveries and progress with our neighbours across the globe."

"New treatments are only half the story, if we are to succeed in our mission we must prevent the disease from occurring in the first place.

"This will require changes in behaviour by the individual and the politicians."


Professor McVie said governments needed to ensure that vital treatments were funded for all.

Professor Gordon McVie
Professor Gordon McVie calls on governments to fund treatments

"Progress comes at a price.

"Cancer organisations play their part by developing new drugs and therapies, but it's up to governments to pay for those treatments and patients to empower themselves with the information they need to take control of their own health."

Dr Seffrin, who is also head of the American Cancer Society, said that developed countries had a responsibility to share their knowledge with the rest of the world.

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