Jeff Dunn speaking with delegates at the 2018 World Cancer Congress

UICC's new President Jeff Dunn shares his plans for the next two years

9 November 2022
Jeff Dunn

Prof. Jeff Dunn AO, President, UICC and Chief of Mission and Head of Research, Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia

With the emergence of the pandemic over the past three years, the global health landscape has certainly changed, and cancer control is no exception. We face a number of challenges such as delayed diagnoses and restricted health budgets, but there are also opportunities opening up: reaching remote populations with telehealth, building on improved health awareness, mobilising resources deployed during the pandemic for cancer screening and diagnosis, cancer vaccines, international partnerships…

While UICC and its members and partners around the world are adapting to news ways of delivering care, our core mission and objectives do not change: to improve the lives of those living with cancer, reduce the number of lives affected by the disease and continue to ensure that cancer remains a priority on the global health agenda. 

Over the next two years as UICC President, I will work closely with UICC staff, members, partners and network organisations to harness the global health community’s collective capacity for action.

We will engage world leaders, policy makers and professionals to ensure that more countries adopt quality standards of cancer care for all populations within universal health coverage schemes – and are enabled to do so.

We will assist local and national communities in implementing strategies to reduce the number of cancer cases and deaths, and improve the quality of life of people living with cancer.

Yes, we strive towards the goal of a 25% reduction in premature cancer mortality by 2050. But it is not just about the numbers. Above all, we will be guided by the needs of those who are living with and who have experienced cancer, to ensure that everyone – regardless of where they live or who they are – is able to access treatment and enjoys a cancer journey that is as dignified, hopeful and comfortable as it can be. 

Cancer takes many forms and there are many aspects to cancer control, from awareness raising and prevention to treatment and survivorship. As a global membership organisation with an interest across the cancer control spectrum, UICC focuses on certain core priorities.

Over the next two years, we will continue to work towards achieving the 2030 targets for eliminating cervical cancer and support WHO’s Breast Cancer Initiative, as UICC’s own Breast Cancer Programme enters the latter half of its five-year engagement 

We will advocate as strongly as ever for effective tobacco control measures to curb not only the consumption of combustible tobacco but also new products such as vaping. We will also highlight the risks related to alcohol consumption and address the underlying causes of obesity. These three modifiable risk factors together account for some 44% of all cancer-related deaths and acting on them is a cost-effective way of preventing millions of premature deaths due to cancer.

To be effective, however, prevention measures as well as early detection, treatment and supportive care must be integrated into strategic plans that take into account a country’s specific needs and resources. To this end, UICC will pursue its work with the International Cancer Control Portal (ICCP) to ensure that all governments implement a robust National Cancer Control Plan.

Access is another significant gap that UICC aims to close. Often services and medicines exist to treat certain cancers or support patients with symptom relief but they are not available to some populations for a variety of often complex reasons. To this end, UICC will coordinate with its ATOM Coalition partners to improve the availability of essential medicines and technologies for cancer treatment and care.

Only a few months after the ATOM Coalition was launched in May 2022, MPP and Novartis concluded the first-ever voluntary license agreement for a cancer medicine, and the preliminary list of target countries for ATOM Coalition operations should be announced next year.

Knowledge sharing is also a key pillar of UICC’s activities. We will work closely with our members, with the support of our private sector partners, to ensure that they are able to develop the necessary skills to maximise the effectiveness of their own organisations. We will be doing so with a particular regional focus, as organisations in different parts of the world face their own specific challenges.

Finally – though this list of UICC actions and ambitions is by no means exhaustive – we will continue to convene the global cancer community. We saw recently at the World Cancer Congress in Geneva how important connections are made and collaborations forged when like-minded people get together. We now look forward to celebrating the second year of the World Cancer Day “Close the care gap” campaign on equity on 4 February and meeting again in person in Long Beach, California for the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in October.

UICC was conceived at the first International Cancer Congress in Madrid in 1933. This means next year we celebrate our 90th anniversary – and I look forward to doing so with all of you in a youthful spirit that belies our age: building on the progress of the past to ensure future success and a bright centennial!

Prof. Jeff Dunn AO is President of the Union for International Cancer Control and the Chief of Mission and Head of Research at the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Jeff is also Professor of Social and Behavioural Science and Chair of Cancer Survivorship at the University of Southern Queensland. He is a Board Member and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service. His work in cancer control spans 30 years, in which time he has dedicated his career to the development of strategies that underpin cancer survival and improve awareness of the disease with a special focus on the social and behavioural aspects of cancer and has over 200 publications, including peer-reviewed manuscripts, chapters, books and reports. In 2014 Jeff was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia for distinguished service to medical administration through leadership of cancer control organisations and promotion of innovative and integrated cancer care programmes.

Last update: 
Wednesday 9 November 2022