As a member of Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the Asian Fund for Cancer Research applauds the first-ever United Nations Summit on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) as an unprecedented opportunity to put cancer on the global agenda.

201109global.jpgThis high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the prevention and control of NCDs was held on September 19-20, 2011 in New York, United States. The meeting addressed the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases worldwide, with a particular focus on developmental and other challenges and social and economic impacts, particularly for developing countries.

The Summit focused on four groups of NCDs that are the most prominent:

• Cardiovascular diseases
• Cancers
• Diabetes
• Chronic lung diseases

These NCDs are the leading causes of mortality globally, causing over 30 million deaths per year, 9 million of which occur in individuals who are younger than 60, as noted by Dr. Ala Alwan, Assistant Director-General of Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health at the World Health Organization. According to Dr. Alwan, incidence of these NCDs is increasing at a very fast rate, such that the World Health Organization now estimates that there will be a 17% increase in mortality from these NCDs in the next 10 years.

Importantly, these diseases are all linked by 4 modifiable and behavioral risk factors:

• Tobacco use
• Unhealthy diet
• Physical inactivity
• Harmful use of Alcohol

Many countries, including both developed countries and developing countries, are facing major challenges in addressing the health and social economic burden of NCDs. This Summit provided the chance for the heads of state to approve a global agenda on this struggle using a global strategy for the prevention and control of NCDs.