Working to Reduce the Impact of Cancer Around the World

24 August 2012

Montreal -

The Canadian Cancer Society will join other top international cancer control representatives at the biennial World Cancer Congress in Montreal from August 27 – 30 to share ideas and seek solutions to reduce the impact of cancer in communities around the world. Under the theme “Connecting for Global Impact,” the conference is hosted by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) based in Geneva.

The congress, held this year for the first time in Canada, aims “to ensure that the knowledge gained from cancer research is efficiently and effectively used for those in need” in communities around the world. The next World Cancer Congress will be held in Melbourne, Australia in 2014.

As a key contributor to the international forum on cancer issues and a leader in advocating for healthy policies and environments to protect the health of Canadians, the Society will be involved in many different aspects of the congress. Both Society staff and our funded researchers will contribute their expertise to the several sessions at the conference through presentations and collaboration with our international partners. This will provide the Canadian perspective and showcase examples of our many successes in cancer control on topics ranging from the use of social networking to support cancer patients to improved legislation for further restrictions on tobacco products.

As a sponsor and participant, the Society shares the goal of the World Cancer Congress to strengthen international connections so we can continue to make global progress against cancer.

Society staff will be presenting in the following sessions:

Tobacco control

Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada, killing 37,000 Canadians annually, and is responsible for about 30% of cancer deaths and for 85% of lung cancers. Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Public Issues, and an internationally renowned tobacco control expert, will give presentations on two tobacco control topics that are important not only in Canada but all over the world:

  • Prohibitions/restrictions on flavoured tobacco products: overview of internat i onal developments Wednesday, August 29, 1:30 p.m.One of the most recent threats to emerge in tobacco control is that of flavoured products, such as cigarillos or small cigars, which are heavily marketed towards youth and a gateway to tobacco addiction. Recent federal legislation in Canada has led to a decrease in the consumption of these products but the Society continues to advocate for a full ban on all flavoured tobacco products as the tobacco industry uses a variety of arguments to circumvent this legislation. The presentation will focus on the importance of banning flavoured tobacco products and what Canada and other countries are doing.
  • Tobacco package health warnings: international developments and best practices Thursday, August 30, 10:30 a.m.In 2001, Canada became the first country in the world to require picture-based health warnings on cigarette packaging. Now, more than 50 countries have followed Canada’s lead. In Canada, as a result of several years of advocacy efforts, health warnings now cover 75% of the package front and back and include a toll-free quit line number and a web address for smokers who are seeking support to quit smoking. The presentation, given within the session discussing Australia’s world precedent-setting success in implementing plain packaging for tobacco products, will focus on the best practices for health warnings, and which available options work best to curb smoking.

Social media

As many cancer organizations worldwide are looking for ways to best use social media to connect with cancer patients, Heather Sinardo, Senior Manager, CancerConnection, will discuss the Society’s experience in developing an online community as an outreach tool for patients:

  • Patient perspective: how consumers perceive benefits/deficits of social media Tuesday, August 28, 10:30 a.m.As social media becomes a more integral tool for organizations to connect with the public, the Society has leveraged this new medium to create an online community,, where members take part in discussions, write their own blogs, create and join groups and exchange messages offering emotional support and advice. This presentation will focus on the Society’s experience in developing and maintaining this community since its launch in 2011.

Prevention research

The Society puts a strong emphasis on preventing cancer. By making healthy lifestyle choices, and reducing exposure to environmental and other risk factors, Canadians can reduce their risk of getting cancer. In fact, about half of all cancers can be prevented through healthy living and policies that protect the health of Canadians.

  • Pan-Canadian initiatives in prevention research, Wednesday, August 29, 4:30 p.m. Leading a discussion among experts in the field, Dr Christine Williams, Vice-President, Research, will co-chair this session with Dr Jon F. Kerner, Senior Scientific Advisor for Population Health and Knowledge Management, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. During the session, Society-funded researchers will present the most up-to-date information on various aspects of cancer prevention, including physical activity and breast cancer, tobacco control and environmental exposures.

For more information on the World Cancer Congress visit:

Registration is free for accredited press and includes all privileges of a full participant, plus access to the congress media programme and materials. Members of the media are asked to register onsite. Proof of media accreditation will be required. You can register your interest to attend, or to receive media materials by emailing


The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Christine Harminc

Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 416 934-5340