Is­lan­der con­trib­utes at can­cer meet­ing in Ottawa

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - Community -

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.

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