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Joining Forces: IAEA and Partners Gather to Mark World Cancer Day 2016

4 February has special meaning for anyone whose life has been affected or directly touched by the threat of cancer. On this day each year, the world pauses in recognition of World Cancer Day, in remembrance of the disease’s victims, and in honour of the researchers, campaigners, and policy-makers who are fighting to slow and reverse the spread of cancer worldwide.

4 February is also an important date for the IAEA, which supports the global campaign against the cancer epidemic through its Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), technical cooperation (TC) programme and its Human Health programme. Across decades, these service-delivery mechanisms have assisted Member States by supporting the training and development of multi-disciplinary healthcare teams, the preparation of national cancer control programmes and the procurement of specialized equipment, leading to reduced national costs and increased access to cancer therapy.

This year, the IAEA has organized a series of informative and interactive events between 3 and 9 February to mark World Cancer Day 2016.

On 3 February, on the eve of World Cancer Day, a public lecture on new technological advances in the fields of cancer diagnosis and treatment will be held at the IAEA’s Vienna headquarters. Divided into two sessions, the first lecture will be delivered by Professor Christoph Zielinski, a physician and cancer researcher at the Medical University of Vienna, who will present new concepts and technologies in the fight against cancer. Dr Zielinski will be followed by Dr May Abdel-Wahab, Director of the IAEA’s Division of Human Health, who will speak about the newest advances in radiotherapy.

On World Cancer Day itself, February 4, the IAEA has organized an exhibition in the rotunda of the Vienna International Centre (VIC) which showcases the Agency’s continuing work in supporting Member States as they expand access to life-saving cancer interventions. Aldo Malavasi, Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, will inaugurate the event and will deliver opening remarks alongside May Abdel-Wahab and Nelly Enwerem-Bromson, Director of the IAEA Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy. The event will offer IAEA staff members, Member State delegates and invited guests the chance to enjoy both musical performances and scientific exhibitions on the occasion of World Cancer Day.

With the support of the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), the IAEA has organized a screening of The Enemy Within on 8 February at the Top Kino in Vienna, to be followed by a roundtable discussion. This stirring film chronicles the decades-long fight against cancer through the eyes of patients, researchers and scientists. Dependable Productions and director Vivienne Parry OBE have made the film available for public screening in the hopes of carrying its message as far and wide as possible.

The week’s events will culminate on 9 February with a high-level roundtable discussion held in the VIC's Boardroom C and attended by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, HE Dr Malika Issoufou Mahamadou, First Lady of Niger, and Dr Sabine Oberhauser, the Austrian Federal Minister of Health. Endorsed by the First Lady of Austria, Mrs Margit Fischer, the discussion will explore how best to join forces and integrate the efforts of individuals, national ministries, and international organizations to fight cancer, whether it emerges in developing countries or in the developed world.

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