From hearing stories of tackling fake cancer cures in India, to the challenge of working towards a tobacco-free generation, this week the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer team has been a part of important conversations on cancer prevention and control.
This team joined our Cancer Council colleagues at World Cancer Congress in Geneva, hosted by one of our founding partners, the Union for International Cancer Control.
Lawyers from the McCabe Centre presented at Congress on diverse topics showing a spectrum of ways law and cancer are linked, ranging from cancer misinformation, to tobacco control and inequity, using children’s rights to counter unhealthy food marketing, tackling inequities and strengthening partnerships. Two of our short films were also screened as part of the Cinema Program.
The event represented an opportunity for the McCabe Centre team to showcase our work, but also to hear from others working in cancer control across the world. Many speakers at Congress highlighted the importance of cancer prevention policy, and the McCabe Centre team contributed to these discussions including the role of law in reducing risk factors for cancer.
After two years of working remotely due to border closures and COVID-19 restrictions, being able to meet in person was particularly exciting for the McCabe Centre team, who reunited with Regional Managers Evita Ricafort (Regional Manager for Asia) and Rachel Kitonyo Devotsu (Regional Manager for Africa), and were able to meet with key partners including WHO colleagues and representatives of the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
McCabe Centre Director Hayley Jones said being able to meet with and hear from other colleagues and experts in person emphasised the importance of strong partnerships.
“I think one of the key themes that emerged from World Cancer Congress this year is just how important it is for us to work across sectors to improve the health of communities around the world,” Hayley said.
“There are so many aspects to successful cancer prevention and control policy, and we’re much more effective when we work together.
“Hearing and sharing these different perspectives reiterates how what we do at the McCabe Centre, and the work of our alumni and colleagues, is an important part of a broader solution,” Rachel added.
“There is still much to be done, but the passion and dedication from experts across the world, who are united in this common goal is very heartening.”
The impact of COVID-19 on cancer treatment and care was also a key theme of Congress, with many speakers highlighting the serious impact the pandemic had on people living with cancer, from access to services to the psychological impacts of lockdowns.
The McCabe Centre and its panel of guest speakers from Mexico, Uganda and the Philippines also highlighted the importance of linking universal health coverage with the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, particularly the opportunities for more to be done to capitalise on the synergies between the two. Our challenge is now to move these conversations into action.
The McCabe Centre also hosted a reception ahead of Congress, welcoming supporters, colleagues and alumni to celebrate our ten-year anniversary.
Dr Cary Adams, UICC CEO, commended the work of the McCabe Centre, which he said was “impressive”.
“It was fantastic to hear first-hand the impact the McCabe Centre has had and continues to have on the ability of government lawyers and policymakers to use and shape laws in order to prevent cancer and protect the right to health,” Dr Adams said.
More than 2,000 scientists, public health officials, civil society representatives and activists attended World Cancer Congress, which is held every two years.
The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is the largest global membership organisation dedicated to the fight against cancer. Founded in Geneva in 1933, UICC has over 1,200 member organisations in 172 countries.
Online sessions are available online for registered attendees and digital pass holders until December 31, 2022.