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International Union Against Cancer

The International Union Against Cancer or UICC (Union Internationale Contre le Cancer) is the only non-governmental organization dedicated exclusively to the global control of cancer. Its vision is of a world where cancer is eliminated as a major life-threatening disease for future generations. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the UICC unites more than 280 member organizations in over 90 countries in the global fight against cancer.


The UICC mission is to build and lead the global cancer control community engaged in:

  • Sharing and exchanging knowledge and competence
    -Transferring scientific findings to clinical, patient and public settings
  • Systematically reducing and eliminating disparities in prevention, early detection and treatment
  • Delivering the best possible care to people living with cancer throughout the world

Under the leadership of Isabel Mortara, executive director of UICC, the Secretariat focuses on four strategic directions:

  • Cancer prevention and control
  • Tobacco control
  • Knowledge transfer
  • Capacity building and supportive care


In 1933, cancer researchers recognized a need to share knowledge and expertise globally, and so founded UICC. Since then, UICC has grown into a respected forum for all professionals engaged in cancer prevention and control. Its objective is to advance scientific and medical knowledge in research diagnosis, therapy and prevention of cancer and to promote all aspects of campaigns to prevent cancer throughout the world. Those campaigns are My Child Matters and Today's Children, Tomorrow's World Particular emphasis is placed on professional and public education. Over the years, UICC has fostered the development of cancer institutions, the sharing and exchange of knowledge, the transfer of skills and technologies, and the education of professionals engaged in cancer control.

World Cancer Congress

The UICC sponsors a biannual World Cancer Congress that brings together the world's leaders in the fight to control cancer. Leading clinicians, practitioners, government agencies and NGO's, patient-care providers and advocates, researchers and behavioural scientists and public health experts focus on transforming the latest knowledge into strategies that countries, communities, institutions and individuals can employ to reduce the cancer burden. The World Cancer Congress has five tracks:

  • Cancer research detection and treatment
  • Public health, prevention and education
  • Survivorship and supportive care
  • Building capacity in cancer organizations
  • Tobacco and cancer

The next World Cancer Congresses will be held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2008 , Beijing, China in 2010, and Montreal, Canada in 2012.


UICC brings together a wide range of organizations, including voluntary cancer leagues and societies, research and treatment centres, public health authorities, patient support networks, advocacy groups, and in some countries, ministries of health. UICC has consultative status with the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council. It works closely with the World Health Organization , the International Agency for Research on Cancer , and the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) initiated by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Cancer networks, partnerships, coalitions, and alliances may join UICC in the category of common interest groups, offering cancer control professionals, volunteers and advocates the chance to become part of a vibrant international community - accessing and sharing information, discussing and debating key cancer control issues with their peers, contributing to shared activities, and helping shape UICC's strategic directions as well as the programme of the UICC World Cancer Congress.

Knowledge Into Action

The World Health Assembly resolution on cancer prevention and control (WHA58.22), adopted in May 2005, calls on all countries to intensify action against cancer by developing and reinforcing cancer control programmes. This resolution has added momentum to the WHO's longstanding work against cancer. WHO is working with partners like UICC to create a global plan of action against cancer. A series of six WHO modules provides practical advice for programme managers and policymakers on how to advocate, plan and implement effective cancer control programmes, particularly in low-and-middle-income countries. According to Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director general, "WHO cancer prevention, including control strategies and guidlines, helps governments in all countries of the world to improve their capacity to reduce national cancer burdens. Our partner organizations play a crucial role in accelerating the translation of WHO's guidance into national practice in order to save the lives of millions."

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