Cancer survivor and advocate Lance Armstrong delivered a keynote address this week before 2,000 dignitaries at the World Cancer Congress in Montréal.

He announced that his Foundation was making a $500,000 commitment and entering into a three-year joint initiative with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) – Expanding Global Access to Essential Medicines and Technologies.

“We believe improving access to essential medicines is crucial for helping cancer patients worldwide live longer, healthier lives, free from pain,” said Armstrong.

During Armstrong’s presentation, Survivorship: Changing the Way the World Fights Cancer, he spoke about the importance of empowering patients to take control of their own health and health care, fighting the stigma that still surrounds cancer in many parts of the world and assisting in cancer patient transitions now that more people are surviving cancer.

“I’m humbled to be in the presence of many of my personal heroes today, champions in the fight against cancer who have shared their wisdom and experience with me for 15 years,” said Armstrong. “They have profoundly influenced me and the work of the Lance Armstrong Foundation and I am forever grateful.”

Speaking at the UICC World Cancer Congress, the organization’s CEO, Cary Adams, said, “The strength of UICC’s efforts is founded in our partnerships. We are delighted to announce our increased collaboration with the Lance Armstrong Foundation. We look forward to seeing the impact that our mutual efforts can have in enhancing global cancer control measures.”

Since the Foundation expanded their efforts globally in 2009, Armstrong has been at the forefront of the first unified global movement to combat cancer around the world and the Foundation is making tremendous progress in that arena. The Foundation is presenting on the success of their global partnerships and projects during Congress sessions, including:

  • How to Win Financial Support Through Corporate Partnerships
  • Innovative Strategies to Empower Survivors in the Global Fight Against Cancer
  • Shattering Global Perceptions of Cancer: How Awareness Campaigns are Changing the Course of This Disease
  • Palliative Care Advocacy Through the Social Media

Earlier in the week, Foundation President and CEO Doug Ulman was re-elected to the UICC Board of Directors during the UICC General Assembly.

The Foundation recently reported on the success of their anti-stigma campaigns in South Africa and Mexico with implementing partner John Snow, Inc. and announced during the Congress their plans to expand programs into Japan and China to diminish stigma and empower patients in those nations. The Foundation will collaborate with the American Cancer Society and the Health and Global Policy Institute on the Patient Empowerment Project in Japan.

Hand in hand with barriers like stigma come lack of access to quality medical care and pain relief for many of the 28 million people affected by cancer throughout the world. The Foundation has worked tirelessly at the national and global level to help promote a shift in policy and funding — away from the traditional disease-centric approach and towards strengthening health systems that serve all the people.

The Foundation is continuing its efforts to expand access to health and palliative care by investing $500,000 in a new three-year partnership with UICC. Expanding Global Access to Essential Medicines and Technologies, the initiative with UICC, will advance international advocacy to ensure targets for essential medicines at global and national levels; create an on-the-ground success story for access to essential medicines and elevate patient voices.

The Foundation and UICC plan to set ambitious, but achievable targets for essential medicines. They are developing a replicable, cost-effective model for improving access to pain relief in collaboration with Partners in Health and the Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative, beginning with two hospitals in Haiti. They plan to elevate patient voices by providing key roles for cancer survivors at major conferences and in public awareness campaigns around the world.

On Wed., Aug. 29, Armstrong also participated in A Conversation with Global Leaders on Cancer Survivorship hosted by The Cedars Cancer Institute at the McGill University Health Centre. The conversation, moderated by Ulman, included panelists Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, director general of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation, and Cary Adams, CEO, UICC. Among the 300 guests were more than 100 cancer survivors, distinguished members of the Canadian cancer community and friends and supporters from across the globe. Proceeds from the evening benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Cedars Cancer Institute and the UICC.

During the event, Ulman announced a new partnership between the Foundation and The Cedars Cancer Institute that will bring Cancer Transitions, a program designed to support, educate and empower people with cancer in the transitional period after treatment is over, to patients of Cedars.

“As a three-time cancer survivor, I know first-hand what a difficult time this can be,” said Ulman. “Survivors are often left thinking, ‘I survived cancer. Now what?’ And they find themselves struggling to redefine ‘normal.’ Cancer Transitions can help survivors address all those feelings and set them on the right course to a happy, productive life after cancer.”

Cancer Transitions was developed in 2006 in partnership between the Cancer Support Community and the Lance Armstrong Foundation to help survivors move beyond treatment. The six-week series incorporates support groups, education, nutrition and physical exercise, as well as addressing other medical management, psychosocial and quality of life issues. The program also provides survivors with practical tools and resources to formulate a personal action plan for survivorship beyond their participation in Cancer Transitions.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation has spent the last two years adapting the program for use in Canada. The Foundation, The Cancer Support Community and the British Columbia Cancer Agency partnered together to pilot the program in 17 cities from British Columbia to Ontario and already nearly 400 Canadians have participated in the program. For more information on Cancer Transitions at Cedars, visit


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