By Cary Adams, CEO - Union for International Cancer Control
In 2012, UICC in collaboration with our member organisation, Cancer Council Victoria, founded the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer. The vision was to create a Centre whose work would focus and improve on the effective use of the law for cancer control – in essence, making the law work better for those affected by cancer.
It was and continues to be the only centre of its kind in the world.
This World Cancer Day - on 4 February - marks the fifth anniversary of the McCabe Centre. In its short five years, the Centre has made immense strides. The dedicated team, which has grown from 2 in Melbourne to 9 in Melbourne, Manila, Nairobi and Suva, have been relentlessly working to develop understanding and build capacity in the legal issues around cancer prevention, treatment, care and research.
One of the major battles continues to be implementing and defending tobacco packaging laws. The McCabe Centre team, led by Director Jonathan Liberman, have been central in providing guidance and expertise to governments around the world as they navigate the strong resistance from the global tobacco industry.
Their work on the frontier of law and cancer control has also sparked vital discussions on a range of policy actions, from international trade and investment aspects of food policy, to access to morphine for cancer pain relief, to support for people planning end-of-life care. In 2013, the Centre assumed its role as a WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) knowledge hub on legal challenges to implementation of the Convention – a major achievement.
Since the beginning, we have worked closely with the McCabe Centre team on these challenges as well as a number of successful initiatives, including international workshops and fellowship opportunities. We are proud to note that over 250 government, intergovernmental organisation and non-government representatives and academic experts from over 75 countries have participated in the McCabe Centre’s training and capacity-building events.
This collective work has been instrumental in supporting UICC’s priority area of promoting a global response to cancer.
Great steps have also been made to achieve greater cooperation and coordination on the many legal issues that are common to cancer organisations globally. We look forward to seeing this collaborative network of cancer organisations grow over the coming years to ensure the McCabe Centre furthers its reach and impact around the world.
On the eve of World Cancer Day, I offer my sincere congratulations to the team at the McCabe Centre on five years of achievements and our continued support.