Preventing cancer globally

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Cancer is a global issue, with the burden increasingly falling in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Over 10 million people die from cancer each year around the world, and  by 2030, 75% of these deaths will occur in LMICs.

With 44% of cancer deaths being attributed to preventable risk factors, we have a role to playas a world-leading cancer organisation to utilise our knowledge of developing and supporting life-saving cancer prevention policies in the UK to support global progress on cancer prevention.  We cannot say we have beaten cancer until we have beaten it everywhere.

That is why we are working to prevent cancer in LMICs through partners on the ground, and to promote global action as an active member of key coalitions.

In the UK we’ve made real progress through policies such as raising tobacco taxation and rolling out the HPV vaccination. These cost-effective and affordable interventions, as recognised by the WHO, can make a real difference globally.

Through our International Cancer Prevention (ICP) Programme, we have been doing just this since 2015 at both the country and global level by working to support the implementation of global agreements:

  • World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  • World Health Organization’s global strategy to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem

Our aim is to reduce the growing burden of cancer in low and middle-income countries (LMICs)so we focus on two key risk factors – tobacco use and the human papillomavirus (which can cause cervical cancer), as LMICs are home to 80% of the world’s 1.3bn smokers, and 88% of cervical cancer cases.
We aim to do this by:

  • Strengthening organisations capacity
  • Communicating policy relevant evidence that informs policy
  • Accelerating implementation of national, regional and global advocacy
  • Developing CRUK as a leading voice in global cancer prevention

For example, many diseases co-exist. Women living with HIV are more likely to acquire an HPV infection and are 6 times more at risk of cervical cancer than women living without HIV.   

That’s why we need to work together on the policy, financing and health system challenges faced by the entire global health community.

View our article on how our global activity is tackling cancer prevention in low- and middle-income countries

View article

Tackling tobacco globally

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Tobacco kills more than 7 million people a year, 80% of whom live in low and middle-income countries. 

Combatting Cervical Cancer

children waiting to get HPV vaccines

Globally, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women

The Power of Partnership

Advocating globally for cancer control

In addition to our International Cancer Prevention programme, we work to ensure that the prevention and control of cancer (and other non-communicable diseases), is prioritised in regional and global health policy. As one of the largest non-governmental organisations in the world dedicated to beating cancer, we believe we can play a key role in working with partners to develop and advocate for policies that combat cancer in LMICs.
We focus on building alliances and collaborating with organisations that work both in cancer control, and across the broader global health and international development communities. We’re a partner organisation of the NCD Alliance, who do vital global policy development and influencing work on the full range of non-communicable diseases. We’re also an active member of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), who are the leading network for organisations that fight cancer across the world. Our partnerships with these groups help us to engage more effectively in key forums that help shape global health policy. For example, we supported NCDA to develop its advocacy to the World Health Organization on the revised NCD “Best Buys”, as well as ahead of the 2023 UN High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage. We are also a founder member of the World Health Organization’s civil society commission, which is a forum to help shape its broader programme of work.
The multifaceted challenges of international development and global health, mean that working with other organisations beyond the cancer control community is essential if we’re to support LMICs in combatting their cancer burden. In the UK, we engage with civil society networks focussed on Global Health, and NCDs, to advocate for the UK government to prioritise these issues (including cancer control) in its development work. These partnerships will be essential in the coming years, as there is a crucial UN High Level Meeting on NCDs taking place in 2025 which will shape the global agenda. We’ll continue to be a leading voice for cancer control globally in the run up to this meeting, and strongly advocate that cancer is treated as a global health policy priority in the years to come.

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