President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, made her first overseas visit since commencing her term as president to Japan from November 19 to 22, 2018 at the invitation of UICC member, UICC-ARO. HRH Princess Dina engaged with various key stakeholders in the cancer community, including representatives of industry, government and academia. In addition to a speech given at the Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research, HRH Princess Dina held a press conference to further raise awareness of the activities of UICC.
UICC-Japan Executive Committee Chairperson Tetsuo Noda began by providing an overview of the history of UICC – the largest organisation dedicated to uniting the cancer community to reducing the global cancer burden, promoting greater equity, and integrating cancer control into the world healthand development agenda– since its foundation 1933 and highlighting the long involvement of the Japan National Committee for UICC (UICC-Japan). UICC-Japan currently has 30 members, all of which are involved in various ways in cancer control and care. He expressed his delight that HRH Princess Dina had chosen Japan as the destination for her first overseas visit since assuming the UICC Presidency.
HRH Princess Dina expressed her personal delight at being able to visit Japan, but also noted that the Asian region is projected to experience the largest increase in cancer incidence in the coming years, with the latest data showing Asia accounting for nearly half (48.1%) of the new cancer cases and more than half of cancer deaths (57.1%).
HRH Princess Dina highlighted ongoing UICC efforts in uniting the cancer community, particularly around the challenge of improving access to cancer services, especially in less developed countries. She also emphasised the efforts being made by UICC to put cancer at the top of the global agenda, and the key role it plays in the NCD Alliance – of which it is a founding member - and the United Nations High-level Meeting on NCDs, among other international organisations and forums. She noted that in order to ensure that efforts have an impact at the local level, UICC has launched two major initiatives.
Firstly, 'Treatment for All' is a global advocacy campaign under which UICC is working with its members to call for national improvements on four key areas: the creation of cancer registries (improved cancer data), the allocation of greater resources for improved access to early detection and diagnosis, the implementation of timely and accurate treatment, as well as universal access to palliative and supportive care.
Secondly, the City Cancer Challenge initiative supports cities with populations over one million to take the lead in the design, planning and implementation of cancer treatment solutions.
This multi-sectoral initiative brings together diversestakeholders including government, civil society, private sector and professional associations to assess and prioritise key gaps in access to cancer care, develop city plans to address these, and identify appropriate financing solutions. Work is already underway in four Key Learning Cities, and cities in the Asia region are now being invited to join the initiative through an open application process that closes on 6 January 2019.
HRH Princess Dina noted that Japan already has the best services in cancer care and praised the initiatives by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to support Treatment for All and Universal Health Coverage in the region. She expressed optimism that UICC will continue to work with the government of Japan to support cancer control and care initiatives in other Asian countries.
Hideyuki Akaza (UICC-ARO Director) concurred on the critical importance of developing strategies for cancer treatment in Asian countries, an essential component of which is the development of cancer registries. He also noted that under the Asia Health and Well-being Initiative (AHWIN) the Japanese government is working to promote public-private efforts in Asian health, including cancer and that registries are extremely important as real world clinical data provides a strong backbone for creating a new paradigm for medicine.
Dr. Hitoshi Nakagama (National Cancer Center, President) noted that there are ongoing efforts to identify areas where Japan can share its know-how with other countries in Asia, either at an institutional level, or at the national and regional level. He also emphasized the importance of cancer registries, as there are clear regional differences in cancer type and prevalence.
Dr. Norie Kawahara (UICC-Japan, Publicity Director) also introduced the events that are being planned in Japan for World Cancer Day 2019 (February 4, 2019) based on the new theme “I Am and I Will,” with a view to raising awareness and education about cancer, and urging people around the world to take action.