Read about the 2013 World Cancer Leaders' Summit – UICC Partners Events and how UICC and its Partners are fighting the cancer epidemic through effective strategic partnerships

© UICC 2013

The 2013 World Cancer Leaders' Summit took place on 19 November in Cape Town, SouthAfrica, and played host to 200 people and 50 observers from over 50 countries. 17 Ministries from Africa, America, Europe and Asia, three First Ladies from South Africa, Zambia and Nigeria, as well as leading CEOs, joined to debate on ‘Closing the Cancer Divide by 2025’, with a particular emphasis on women’s cancers, cancer information and cancer treatment in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

As a premier, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) organised special UICC Partners Events on Monday, 18 November 2013 - the day before - to complement the first ever Summit in Africa. Some UICC leading members and corporate partners took this opportunity to showcase how top leaders and cancer experts from governments, civil society and the private sector can join forces through an integrative multisectoral approach to address the glaring disparities in cancer control within and across national, international and regional boundaries. The different sessions were well attended and the main highlights are outlined here below.

First thing in the morning, UICC introduced its Cancer Prevention Network, which as a collaborative effort with Cancer Council Victoria, looks to offer knowledge exchange on cancer prevention, early detection and screening via the online International Cancer Control Partnership (ICCP) Portal. Later in the day, the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) officially launched the ICCP portal at the “Launch of an International Partnership focused on Cancer Control Planning” session. This key communication platform for cancer planners and decision-makers pools together all resources necessary to assist countries in implementing commitments from the Global NCD Framework in the cancer field. Access the portal at

Novartis followed with the “Voice of Cancer Forum", which outlined the challenge of providing universal coverage for key cancer agents without a strong collaboration with the government and the lawmakers, as well as the need to enhance patient awareness and education in LMICs. Dr. Gilberto de Lima Lopes, Jr. discussed a possible public private partnership such as GAVI and the creation of a Global Fund to improve the affordability and accessibility of cancer medications – LMICs represent more than half of cancer cases, yet only 6.2% of global cancer costs.

Next, Glaxosmithkline elaborated on this topic, with their session on “Improving Cancer Outcomes in Africa: The Potential of Public-Private Partnerships”. GSK’s engagement in cervical cancer (HPV) vaccinations, cancer registries and training of healthcare professionals in Africa demonstrates how the private sector can actively provide solutions through strategic partnerships. Dr. Lini Pandite, GSK, described their partnership with Dana Farber and Partners in Health in Rwanda on capacity building and oncology training, and how “achievements to date include baseline training for 52 doctors in 24 facilities and 83 nurses in 13 facilities, with more training planned for 2014.” 

The American Cancer Society (ACS) also held an event on mobilising cancer control in Africa “The Future of NCDs in Africa: Prevention and Intervention Strategies in Tobacco Control. Tobacco is the number one preventable risk factor for NCDs, a point which John Seffrin, ACS CEO, emphasised as it is on course to kill 1 billion people in the 21st century and expected to increase by 700% in Africa. Multiple actors, from academia, governments, ACS and the McCabe Centre, therefore all spoke on how tobacco control in Africa is imperative to implement now. Taxes, plus other control measures such as plain packaging policies, require a scaling up of human resource and legal capacity to effectively reduce tobacco use. 

The afternoon sessions shifted gears, introducing new topics such as “The State of Oncology: Planning a Positive Future”, organised by Roche. This event gave the lead authors and editors of the State of Oncology report to state their findings, followed by a discussion on how if there is political will in a country, things will get done. Professor Peter Boyle, President of the International Prevention Research Institute, explained how the main message is to “prevent what is preventable, treat what can be treated, cure what can be cured and palliate when necessary.” 

Bupa brought together CEOs from Varian, IBM Africa, UICC, ACS and Bupa itself to discuss “The Private Sector’s Role in Delivering 25 by 25: Partnership, Innovation, Ambition”. This session highlighted how businesses need to take an active interest in the health of their employees, as well as how collaborative partnerships between governments, NGOs and businesses are the most powerful if we are to successfully address cancer and NCDs. When NGOs approach businesses for support, there needs to be a conversation about how the two can work together. Stuart Fletcher, CEO of Bupa, emphasized this and how “it is not just about looking for money, but what we can do together. It’s not only about donations”

The final event of the day was hosted by the Sanofi Espoir Foundation and the International Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) on “Childhood Cancer: Rising to the Challenge in Today’s Africa”. This session focused on the need of greater awareness and education of the public on childhood cancers, including demystifying cancer and the cultural stigma surrounding it. In turn, this would lead to earlier detection and treatment, but in cases of late presentation, speakers touched upon the need for palliative care to be available. Mr. Kwaky Sintim-Misa, childhood cancer advocate from Ghana, stated “Cancer is real, but more importantly it is curable! We should focus on this”.