Islander contributes at cancer meeting in Ottawa
Canadian cancer professionals, medical specialists, advocates and volunteers joined their global counterparts from Asia, South America, Europe, Australia, Africa and the Middle East recently in Ottawa at the Global Leadership Cancer Forum.
Designed to forge a new, transformational role in the fight against cancer, the ultimate goal of this global effort is to decrease the rate of cancer deaths by as much as half over a generation.
Cancer has become the global health concern of the 21st century. More people die from cancer than from HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria combined. In fact, by 2030, it is estimated that more than 12 million people will die of cancer every year, with thousands more being touched by the disease.
In North America, one in three people will get cancer in their lifetime.
Cancer is simply not going away as one of the 21st century’s major health issues. But the fact is it doesn’t have to be this way.
Although there isn’t a full cure, it is possible to control cancer and cut the rate of cancer deaths through prevention and treatment. However, not enough is being done in a fast, coordinated way.
“Never before has the public at large been so ready, willing and able to come together not just to demand change, but to make it,” says Pat Kelly, CEO of the Campaign to Control Cancer.
The initiative for the forum was spearheaded by the Campaign to Control Cancer, a coalition of more than 70 cancer organizations dedicated to cutting cancer down to size through knowledge, change and action.
David Morrison of Charlottetown was one of the invited speakers. He called for the movement to operate under the principles of inclusiveness and transparency. Morrison advocates the greater use of international human rights principles and treaties through the United Nations, the World Health Organization and Human Rights Watch.
He explained that inroads are being made in this regard, reminding delegates that cancer control, pain alleviation and palliation are human rights issues.
Morrison has worked in the field of supportive care at the P.E.I. Cancer Treatment Centre for almost seven years. Frequently he is a speaker at international meetings in psycho-oncology and in cancer control. During the past year he has been invited to address cancer bodies in Europe, North America and Africa.
Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, president of the B.C. Cancer Agency and president of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, was an active participant.
Wendy Mesley, cancer survivor and award-winning CBC broadcast journalist, and Globe and Mail health reporter Andre Picard called for greater public participation in standing up against cancer.
Stephen Lewis, in his dynamic closing speech, called for the movement to have cancer, “this scourge which haunts the world,” elevated to the agenda of the G20 meetings next year in Canada.