Mission of UICC-ARO

The Union for International Cancer Control Asia Regional Office (UICC-ARO) was established in 2006 as the first regional office of the UICC4) with the support of the UICC President at the time, Dr. Franco Cavalli, and following the approval of the UICC Board of Directors. UICC-ARO supports the further development and activation of the UICC movement in Asia and aims to promote activities that strengthen cooperation and collaboration among organizations that are working to overcome cancer in Asia. From its establishment until 2012, UICC-ARO was headed by Dr. Malcolm A. Moore. Following Dr. Moore’s desire to concentrate his activities exclusively on editing of the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention (APJCP)5), I have succeeded him as director of UICC-ARO.

The chart depicted here shows the current status of international cooperation on cancer in Asia, centered on the activities of UICC-ARO. Our action plan includes activities to widen understanding in the Asian region about the work of the UICC and promote participation from Asia in the UICC World Cancer Congress. To that end we are working to promote and widen networks of individuals and organizations in Asia and involve them in UICC-ARO activities.

As director of UICC-ARO I believe that in order to raise the level of cancer treatment in Asia, we must not only concentrate on the medical nature of the disease, but also take a more macro perspective that takes into account the social determinants of cancer in Asia, including social structures, culture and economy. In the field of medical sociology, economic and social conditions have come to be widely considered as factors that determine people’s health, otherwise known as social determinants of health (SDH). However, in recent years, while cancer treatment itself has become increasingly specialized and focused on “micro” aspects of medicine, including the use of molecular targeted therapies, society as a whole has not given a great deal of thought to impact of cancer. Now is the time to look to the long term and work to share a common recognition of the current status of cancer as a social challenge for Asia, based on the “social determinants of cancer in Asia,” working to address the issue not in purely medical terms, but through interdisciplinary and cross-boundary discussions.

As part of our current activities, we are addressing the question of the “Economic burden of cancer in Asian countries: How should we face the current situation?” from a variety of angles and seeking to bring together a wealth of multidisciplinary knowledge about cancer in Asia and its related socioeconomic factors. Another question we must consider is how the concept of cost-effectiveness should be incorporated into medical care in Asia, given the fact that limited medical resources are conspiring to make issues of cost vs. effectiveness a very real and pressing issue. This autumn, at the Annual Meeting of the Japanese Cancer Association, colleagues from Japan, Korea and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will engage in discussions on innovative ways to respond to social challenges. UICC-ARO also aims to hold a meeting on this issue as part of the official program of the 23rd UICC World Cancer Congress in Melbourne, Australia, in 2014. Various efforts to address the social determinants of cancer in Asia have already been initiated, starting with a UICC Session at the Annual Meeting of the Japanese Cancer Association in 2012, which was conducted in a roundtable format. The details of that meeting have been compiled into a report, which has been published.)