It?s an exciting time for Lance and the Foundation. Lance has been preparing to begin his 2009 race schedule and the Foundation is launching our global campaign to increase awareness and activity in the fight against cancer.
Cancer knows no national ideologies and recognizes no country?s borders. It penetrates into every country, state, and nation across the globe and touches every citizen of the world. And this upcoming week Lance and the Foundation will launch our 2009 commitment to making cancer a global priority and raising awareness of this disease across the world.
We are looking forward to kicking off this campaign and working with the Australian citizens and the government to lead the change. Australia has already demonstrated a national commitment to fighting this disease. It was the first country in the world to introduce HPV vaccine, targeting all women age 12?26 years ? an effort which will have a dramatic impact in reducing cervical cancers. And Cancer Australia , the national agency established by the Australian Government in 2006 to help reduce the impact of cancer on all Australians was recently featured by the International Agency for Research on Cancer?s World Cancer report as a hallmark agency in the fight against cancer.
And it is fitting that this campaign begin in the land down under, Australia. This is because, according to the World Health Organization, cancer is the leading cause of death in Australia. And the truth of the matter is that it doesn?t have to be. Here are some of the numbers:
· The rates of cancer are similar to that in the US, 1 in 2 males and 1 in 3 females will be diagnosed in their lifetime resulting in over 40,000 deaths from this disease per year.
· Approximately 1/5th of the cancer deaths will be attributed to smoking.
· In Australia, non-melanoma skin cancers are so frequent that around half of the population will develop a skin cancer during their lifetime, with many developing multiple recurrences.
· However, the most surprising statistic is that the rates of the deadliest skin cancer, melanoma, are the highest in the world, occurring at rates 5 times that in the United States.
Expanding efforts to improve lifestyle changes that include reduction in UV-light exposure and use of tobacco could make huge impacts in changing the face of this disease in Australia. And broadening awareness of other areas of cancer prevention and early detection will have an enormous return on reducing the cancer burden in Australia. And this is a change the Foundation is hoping to help bring about.