Cancer and NCDs

Cancer and Non-communicable Diseases

Cancer shares a number of leading risk factors and similar health systems needs with the other major NCDs, namely cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. As a result, UICC has been working closely with the NCD Alliance since its foundation in 2009 to help develop and shape the global NCD discussion to respond to these needs and to build a global movement to help address them.

Urgent global action on NCDs is necessary. In 2015, around 70% of deaths globally were due to the four leading NCDs. The burden of these diseases is rising disproportionately in low- and middle-income countries, which already shoulder around 75% of global NCD mortality. This poses an urgent threat to economic and social development, as 48% of NCD deaths occur in people under the age of 70. Over 85% of these ‘premature’ deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Since the first UN High-level meeting on NCDs in 2011, we have seen the momentum build with development of a framework of UN and WHO commitments and technical guidance on NCDs:

NCD Commitments

The documents below provide an overarching framework to drive action on NCDs and cancer nationally:

  • Global Monitoring Framework on NCDs – a voluntary framework of 9 ambitious targets and 27 indicators designed to drive progress nationally, adopted in May 2013
  • Global Action Plan (GAP) for the prevention and control of NCDs (2013-2020) – sets out roadmap for national action on NCDs, following on from commitments in the 2011 UN Political Declaration on NCDs. The 9 voluntary targets cover prevention and treatment for NCDs, of particular note for cancer are the targets on:

25% relative reduction in risk of premature mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or chronic respiratory diseases by 2025 (25x25 goal)

80% availability of the affordable basic technologies and essential medicines, including generics, required to treat major NCDs in both public and private facilities by 2025

  • 2014 UN Outcome Document on comprehensive review of progress on NCDs – sets out that progress has been ‘uneven and insufficient’ and set countries four time-bound targets to accelerate action
  • 2018 Third High-level Meeting on NCDs – UICC is currently working actively with our members, the NCD Alliance, and the broader NCD community to use this meeting to help drive action forward nationally through strong political engagement as countries are not on track to meet the 25x25 goal.

Technical guidance

  • WHO ‘Best buys and other recommended interventions’ for the prevention and control of NCDs – a series of highly cost-effective and other recommended actions, corresponding to the 9 targets in the GAP. Of particular note for cancer are recommendations for
  • WHO model list of essential medicines – updated every 2 years to reflect the medicines which most effectively and safely respond to patients needs in a health system. It is a model list and should be adapted to each country’s disease burden.

Joining the dots

Find out more about how the NCD agenda supports action on cancer, and vice versa, using the interactive commitments navigator.

Interested in learning more about NCDs? Check out the map of national and regional NCD Alliances

Last update: 
Tuesday 17 July 2018
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