VIENNA, 4th February, 2016 (WAM) – Improving cancer control in developing countries is an enormous challenge, and one we must do our best to meet, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said in a message on the World Cancer Day, which falls on 4th February of every year.

”There are now positive signs that the international community is taking this challenge seriously.I was in New York last September when world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. For the first time, they committed themselves to reducing early deaths from chronic diseases, including cancer, by one third over the next 15 years,” Amano said.

”This is an important development. I believe it will give new impetus to global efforts to curb the cancer epidemic, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

The extraordinary advances in cancer diagnosis and treatment in recent years have made it possible for many patients to live longer and healthier lives,” he added.

But, he noted, this is true mainly of developed countries, where advanced diagnostic and treatment services are in place. Too many developing countries lack the personnel and equipment needed to provide timely diagnosis, and effective cancer treatments such as radiotherapy. As a result, the cancer burden is sharply rising.

”The IAEA Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy – PACT – helps countries to use limited resources efficiently and effectively. We support countries in establishing oncology and radiotherapy centres. We provide extensive training for medical and technical staff,” he indicated.

”The slogan of World Cancer Day this year is “We can. I can.”

I firmly believe that, together, we can do more to ensure that, one day, all of the world’s people will have access to effective, quality, affordable cancer diagnosis and treatment.” ”Improving cancer control in developing countries has been part of the IAEA’s Atoms for Peace and Development mandate for decades. It will be one of the key areas we focus on as we mark our 60th anniversary this year and next.

Of course, we cannot act alone.” ”The IAEA has been working for decades, with partners such as the World Health Organization and a number of non-governmental organisations, to assist these countries.” ”By developing key partnerships, and bringing our specialist expertise in nuclear science and technology to bear, we can help to save countless lives.

Let us work together to bring effective cancer services to all people in need, everywhere in the world, IAEA chief concluded.

WAM/tfaham