"Five million lives lost: people with hopes and fears, just like you and me. How many will die in pain and suffering?" Five million cancer deaths are predicted in low-to middle income countries in 2011. "Incredibly, this number is expected to double by 2020," Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of Jordan said.
For the past 12 years, Princess Dina has been rallying support in her battle against cancer. During her visit to the IAEA headquarters in Vienna for the World Cancer Day Commemoration held on 7 February 2011, she decried the lack of cancer care capacity in the developing world.
Recounting her own family´s encounter with the disease, Princess Dina recalled receiving the news that her toddler son had been diagnosed with leukemia, "We found ourselves facing the multitude of emotions that a cancer diagnosis brings. Shock, sorrow, hope, and stronger than all of the other emotions, the paralyzing fear that we could lose what is most precious."
Thanks to state-of-the-art medical care her son received at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Princess Dina can say, "I am the mother of a cancer survivor."
When her son was diagnosed with leukemia, state-of-the-art cancer care was not available in Jordan. Seeing the growing need for cancer care, Princess Dina began supporting the King Hussein Cancer Center through her work as the Director of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation. The Foundation raises funds to fight cancer stigmatization and improve treatment for the Cancer Center´s patients.
"The King Hussein Cancer Center is now the only center in the developing world to have earned international accreditation from the Joint Commission International as a disease-specific cancer center, and has become a beacon of hope in the region for patients not only from Jordan, but from Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon and the Gulf," she said.
Princess Dina stressed that the King Hussein Cancer Center´s development was fostered through "real partnerships with some of the best cancer organizations in the world. We also received invaluable support from other non-cancer organizations such as the World Health Organization, the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and of course the IAEA." In particular, she recognized the IAEA´s Programme of Action on Cancer Therapy (PACT) for their "immense efforts in the developing world in general and in our region in particular."
The King Hussein Cancer Center has collaborated with the IAEA for many years and has "benefitted greatly from their training, but have also seen how instrumental their efforts have been in addressing capacity development issues and in providing training for radiologists, radiotherapists, physicists and the like," Princess Dina noted.
In the coming months, Princess Dina told the World Cancer Day gathering that she would urge all to sign the Union for International Cancer Control´s (UICC) World Cancer Declaration. She intended to help the UICC collect "too many signatures to ignore," and thus help convince world leaders attending the September 2011 UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases to place cancer care in the developing world on the global heath agenda and finally address the "impending cancer genocide in the developing world."
HRH Princess Dina Mired has led the King Hussein Cancer Foundation (KHCF) in Jordan as Director General since 2003. Princess Dina is also an honorary member of the Mediterranean Task Force for Cancer Control in Italy, and is also the honorary member of the National Breast Cancer Committee for the National Breast Cancer Early Detection and Screening Program in Jordan.