September 17, 2012
2 min read

Global experts outline strategies to achieve ‘25 by 25’

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International cancer control experts outlined several actions they say are necessary to reach the United Nations’ goal of reducing the number of premature deaths due to noncommunicable diseases by 25% by 2025.

Cancer, heart and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases accounted for 63% of global deaths in 2010, and that number is predicted to grow significantly in the future, according to statistics provided by World Cancer Congress organizers.

“The 25 by 25 goal set by the member states at the World Health Assembly in May represents the single most important landmark decision taken by our generation in the fight against cancer and the other noncommunicable diseases,” Cary Adams, CEO of Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), said in a press release. “For many years, UICC and its members have argued that the burden of cancer can be reduced, but only with the true engagement of national governments committed to plan, fund and drive a robust national cancer control plan agenda. The 25 by 25 goal now gives this effort purpose and focus. We applaud the steps taken by the UN to address cancer in our lifetime.”

Princess Dina Mired, director-general of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation in Jordan, called on the United Nations to quickly translate the 25 by 25 goal into a meaningful global action plan. She detailed the steps necessary to reduce the risks for developing cancer, improve early detection rates, and enhance treatment and care capabilities around the world.

“2025 may seem a long way ahead, but we must act now and insist that all countries place cancer at the heart of their health agenda,” Mired said in a press release. “In Jordan, the King Hussein Cancer Center has turned what was a severely under-resourced cancer-care setting into a success story. In just 15 years, our passion and comprehensive approach has increased individuals’ chances of survival. It is imperative we replicate this elsewhere; we do not have time to waste.”

In 2000, world leaders agreed to eight global targets designed to free billions of people from poverty and other deprivations by 2015. Noncommunicable diseases were not one of the eight targets recognized in the millennium development goals.

With 2015 approaching, the United Nations is now consulting on a revised framework for these targets, and those in the cancer community said they believe that cancer and the other noncommunicable diseases must be included.

“Reducing the global burden of cancer and sustainable development are intrinsically linked, so inclusion of targets for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases and cancers into any revised UN [millennium development goals] or similar new development framework makes perfect sense,” Sir George Alleyne, MD, director-emeritus of WHO’s Pan American Health Organization, said in a press release. “By signing the 2011 political declaration on noncommunicable diseases, member states pledged commitments to tackling these diseases. Nations must now put these promises into action and focus on prioritizing cancer control programs, particularly developing world countries least equipped to cope with the environmental, social and economic impact of the disease.”