Cancer registry data saves lives!

Panelists show how cancer statistics have and should continue to shape campaigning to tackle tobacco

Information on cancer cases collected and analysed by population-based registries play a key role in driving for evidence-based cancer prevention. There is a misconception that such information is of little use by the time it is available.

A symposium of five top tobacco control experts from the NGO community at the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, 7 – 9 March in Cape Town, South Africa, will show the how cancer registry outputs are used in diverse ways to frame the dynamic tobacco control landscape and ultimately combat cancer.

Eeva Ollila, Finland, Chief Medical Officer at the Cancer Society of Finland, will discuss how the pioneering use of registry data in Finland was instrumental in linking the over 70% smoking rate in men to severe lung cancer prevalence in the 1970s.

This led to measures that eventually cut smoking and lung cancer in men dramatically. By 2017 some 13% of Finns over the age of 20 were daily smokers.

Registry data is central to on-going efforts aimed at ending the use of tobacco and nicotine products in Finland by 2030.

Cary Adams, Switzerland, CEO of the Union for International Cancer Control, will challenge the myth that registry data does not save lives. He will encourage us to use impact data from countries that use multipronged strategies on tobacco control in all countries to influence the behaviour among new generations and call on tobacco advocates to champion investment in cancer surveillance.

Registry data is crucial in revealing tobacco as a risk factor in many types of cancer, in early cancer detection among high-risk groups, and in providing different forms of support for cancer patients.

Wendy Yared, Belgium, CEO of the Association of the European Cancer Leagues, will discuss how epidemiological data is used in framing public advocacy on cancer prevention. Such work has been central to developing the European Code Against Cancer.

This contains 12 ways that most people can follow without any special skills or advice to cut their risk of getting cancer. It is reckoned that almost half of all deaths due to cancer in Europe could be avoided if everyone followed the 12 recommendations. Dr Yared’s work includes high profile advocacy on the Code.

Shoba John, India, a health and development consultant with several international and intergovernmental organisations, will show how registry data helps set priorities in speeding up the reduction of tobacco use in India. This is a big worry, as tobacco accounts for some 30% of all cancer deaths in the India. The numbers of cases of cancer and deaths from the disease as a whole is expected to increase by 20% for the period 2016 – 2020.

The target in India is to cut current rates of tobacco use by 25% by 2025, and to achieve this requires setting new priorities in advocacy.

Elif Dagli, Turkey, chair of Health Institute Association and recipient of the American Cancer Society’s Luther L. Terry award for 2018, will describe the successes and problems for tobacco control in Turkey reflected in a range of data sources. Despite important advances made after the country adopted the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2004, since 2013 the consumption and sales of tobacco have increased.

Organised by the Cancer Society of Finland, the symposium “Registry data saves lives! The use of data for advocacy in tobacco control” will be held 9 March at 07.45 at the 17th World Conference on Tobacco or Health, Cape Town, 7 – 9 March 2018. Further information:

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