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LIVESTRONG(R) Global Cancer Campaign Spurs Major New Global Commitments to Tobacco Control

Lance Armstrong Foundation

AUSTIN, TX — 07/08/09 — Today the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) announced outstanding new commitments to control the use of tobacco in Senegal, Nepal, Argentina, China and Canada as part of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign, an initiative to address the global cancer burden. These commitments will be highlighted at the Campaign’s landmark event, the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit, in Dublin, Ireland, Aug. 24-26. A map featuring these commitments, along with all commitments made to date, can be viewed at

Tobacco use is the single greatest risk factor for cancer. Cigarette smoking alone is the second major cause of death in the world. Tobacco harms nearly every major organ of the body, as the risk of disease amplifies with prolonged exposure. Tobacco users have significantly increased risks of multiple cancers, particularly lung cancer, and are at further risk for heart disease, strokes, emphysema and many other fatal diseases. If tobacco patterns continue, half of 650 million smokers worldwide will likely be killed by tobacco-related diseases, at a rate of ten million deaths each year.

“Millions of lives have already been lost needlessly because of tobacco. These groundbreaking commitments to tobacco control will spur significant progress in reducing the world’s cancer incidences and deaths,” said Lance Armstrong, chairman and founder of the LAF.

“Tobacco control policies must be an urgent priority,” said Doug Ulman, president and CEO of the LAF. “As governments take action, cancer rates will dramatically fall and the quality of life will rise as communities work together to spread positive health messages.”

Abdoul Aziz Kasse, a surgical oncologist and epidemiologist at Accueil Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, founded PREVENIR, an organization dedicated to eradicating tobacco use in young adults. His studies show that 90 percent of Senegalese smokers begin between the ages of 18 to 24. PREVENIR will establish support programs at universities to help students quit smoking tobacco. Young adults will be educated on the connection between smoking and cancer-related diseases, empowering these future leaders of Senegal to change health policy and the public’s perception of cancer.
PREVENIR’s advocacy in recent years has worked to reduce stigma and lack of awareness associated with cancer. Kasse recalls, “The word cancer was so frightening in Senegal that people didn’t dare pronounce it.” Continuing with their commitment, PREVENIR will recruit young activists and urge government leaders to implement a national cancer plan in Senegal.

Hom Shrestha, Founder of Non-Smokers’ Rights Association of Nepal (NOSMORAN) in Kathmandu, Nepal, wrote the goal of their commitment is to facilitate early detection of lung cancers, especially in Nepal’s mountainous regions where tobacco is most prevalent. Free screenings will increase the survival rates of lung cancer patients, the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women of Nepal.

Shtrestha’s commitment concludes that an anti-tobacco media campaign will build grassroots awareness and pressure government to establish smoke-free public places and a ban on tobacco sales to minors by 2015.

Raúl Pitarque, a professor in the Health Science School at Universidad Nacional del Centro of Buenos Aires, Argentina, sees a generation of young adults who do not understand the risks of tobacco. As CEO of Escuela Superior de Ciencias de la Salud (ESCS), a partnership of anti-tobacco universities and organizations, his commitment will unify the voices of cancer patients and families to raise awareness.

Pitarque wrote the goal of his commitment is to “achieve 100 percent smoke-free public places in the Buenos Aires province, where tobacco-related cancers claim the life of one in ten people. We hope to build partnerships with other cancer associations and create a strong community forum. Together, we will work for a higher health objective: a better future, without related tobacco diseases.”

Guihua Xu, CEO of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, has made a commitment to equip hospitals with the knowledge and resources to establish “anti-smoking clinics.” The organization will train nearly 8,000 doctors at 2,800 hospitals to offer interventions and programs to educate the public on the dangers of tobacco.

“Approximately 36 percent of civilians smoke in the People’s Republic of China, causing one million tobacco-related deaths each year,” reports Xu. “Providing medical services to help people quit smoking effectively will be an important initial step of action in tobacco control.”

For the first time, the Canadian Cancer Society made a commitment of $70,000 to the Framework Convention Alliance. This commitment supports the current battle to pass the Illicit Trade Protocol, the World Health Organization’s international treaty on tobacco control. If passed, the treaty will reduce tobacco contraband, in turn reducing smoking and other forms of tobacco abuse. In addition, the Canadian Cancer Society is concerned with tobacco’s role in exacerbating global poverty. Tobacco abuse causes malnutrition and premature death at the height of one’s productivity, often depriving communities of a healthy workforce.

Dan Demers, an employee at the Canadian Cancer Society, recognizes that a global challenge like cancer required a global movement. In the organization’s commitment he writes, “Because contraband crosses international borders, effective action by one country will have important benefits for many other countries in the same region and indeed worldwide.”
These advocates will join 250 attendees representing more than 60 countries around the world in an unprecedented show of solidarity against the global cancer epidemic at the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit in Dublin, Ireland, August 24 – 26. The Summit will make the case for urgent action to address the global cancer burden and introduce new commitments for cancer control by bringing together key stakeholders from all parts of the world. The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit will ignite a unified global movement while providing attendees the opportunity to connect with other advocates, network, gain media exposure and access tools and resources to help them mobilize in their own communities. Speakers include honorary Summit chair and former Irish President Mary Robinson, Irish Cancer Chief Professor Tom Keane, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as well as representatives from the World Health Organization and other global bodies.

In September 2008, Lance Armstrong, LAF founder and chairman, cancer survivor and champion cyclist, announced the Foundation’s commitment to making cancer a global priority at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York. The LAF made this commitment after its worldwide research, conducted over 18 months, revealed widespread misconceptions, stigma and lack of awareness associated with cancer. In response, the LAF established the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign to urgently address the burden of cancer worldwide and support the 28 million people living with cancer around the globe. Cancer kills more people every year than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. It is estimated that cancer will be the leading cause of death worldwide by 2010. With such staggering statistics, the LAF recognized that a global challenge like cancer required a global movement. And so it began urging world leaders, leading cancer organizations and cancer survivors to join together by making commitments to take action in their communities to reduce the burden of cancer.

The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign has broken new ground with successes to date in Australia, California, Mexico and, most recently, Italy, where its corporate partner Nike helped build grassroots awareness of the burden of cancer through visibility efforts including its Open Roads project, in which Hope Rides Again yellow boxes of chalk and cheer cards were given to fans who lined the tour route in support of Armstrong. The LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign will head to the Tour de France (July 4-26), the Tour of Ireland (Aug. 19-23) and the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Summit in Ireland (Aug. 24-26), as well as other locations to be announced. For more information on the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign, please visit

About the Lance Armstrong Foundation
At the Lance Armstrong Foundation, we fight for the 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. There can be — and should be — life after cancer for more people. That’s why we kick in at the moment of diagnosis, giving people the resources and support they need to fight cancer head-on. We find innovative ways to raise awareness, fund research and end the stigma about cancer that many survivors face. We connect people and communities to drive social change, and we call for state, national and world leaders to help fight this disease. Anyone anywhere can join our fight against cancer. Join us at
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Rae Bazzarre
Lance Armstrong Foundation
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