Bupa joins world leaders to call for concerted efforts to halt the global cancer epidemic

18 November 2015 . International

Today Bupa, the global health and care company, joins 250 leaders from government, UN agencies, academia, private sector and civil society at the 2015 World Cancer Leaders’ Summit (WCLS), organised by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), in Istanbul.

To be discussed are the urgent actions needed to scale up international collaboration and reduce premature deaths from cancer and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), by a third within the next 15 years.

Currently over eight million people die from cancer worldwide each year, and the estimated total annual cost of cancer was approximately 1.16 trillion USD in 2010. In terms of lost output, this is estimated at somewhere around 8.3 trillion US dollars [i] – from lost productivity due to sick days, medical costs, and employees who do not to return back to work after having had cancer. Half of those who die from cancer-related illnesses are in the prime of their productive years, which has a huge impact on businesses.

To support employers in addressing the impact of cancer, Bupa is launching a suite of materials at the World Cancer Leaders’ Summit in partnership with the UICC, focused on improving cancer prevention and early detection through workplaces, and designed to support both employers and employees living and working with cancer.

‘Working with cancer’ offers advice from around the world to employers on how to implement comprehensive frameworks and a supportive culture for cancer survivors returning to work.

‘Cancer - it's everyone's business’ looks at how businesses and cancer organisations can work together to combat cancer.

‘Less smoking, better business’ is a practical toolkit designed to help employers implement a quit smoking initiative as part of a wider employee health programme.

‘Tackling breast cancer in the workplace’ offers information for best practice workplace policies that will support positive behaviours that reduce the risk of breast cancer.

A recent global study from Bupa with 632 breast cancer survivors found that 89% felt that working during treatment gave them something positive to focus on – however, they also felt that employers could do more to support their recovery and journey back into the workplace.

Dr. Fiona Adshead, Chief Wellbeing and Public Health Officer at Bupa, commented: “Investing in cancer prevention and detection is not only the smart thing to do but the right thing to do - healthier employees come to work, perform at their best and go the extra mile to improve the business’s performance.

“In addition, supporting cancer survivors to come back to work retains experienced employees and helps sustain a resilient, productive employee base.”

The 2015 WCLS Summit will also focus on the importance of collaboration in the fight against cancer; both cross-border and through public and private partnerships.

Bupa is delivering a joint session with the UICC on the topic of ‘Managing conflicts of interest in collaborations’ led by Dr. Fiona Adshead, addressing some of the myths and perceived cultural divides can hamper cross-sector health collaborations.

She added: “The UN’s recently announced Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) challenge us all to work in partnership, share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources to drive forward the healthcare agenda.

“Creating an effective, collaborative response against NCDs requires cross-sector and cross-industry action – it can’t be achieved by any one business, nor one sector alone.”

[i] The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases (2011)


For further information please contact:

Sirina Parr, sirina.parr@bupa.com / 0207 656 2669

Notes to editor

About the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In September 2015 the UN announced the SDGs – 17 goals for global development which were agreed by all 193 member states of the UN, covering a 15-year timeframe to 2030.

For the first time, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) featured in the global development agenda as a universal priority that must be addressed, with the ambition to reduce one third of premature mortality from NCDs through prevention and treatment.

Part of our Bupa 2020 vision is to be famous for tackling the toughest challenges in healthcare, which includes NCDs such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Bupa aims to empower people to prevent and better manage NCDs including cancer, while taking a truly holistic approach – from prevention and treatment to surviving well and dying with dignity.

To help us tackle the NCD challenge, we recently announced a partnership with the NCD Alliance, which will help us use workplaces as a platform to support millions of people and help employers provide their employees with practical support to ensure they live longer, healthier, happier lives.

About the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)

UICC unites the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, to promote greater equity, and to integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda. UICC is the largest cancer-fighting organisation of its kind, with over 900 member organisations across 155 countries representing the world's major cancer societies, ministries of health, research institutes, treatment centres and patient groups.

UICC is dedicated to continuing to work with world leaders to increase their support for cancer control measures, and encourage accountability for the cancer commitments made in the UN Political Declaration on NCDs. UICC uses key convening opportunities like the World Cancer Leaders' Summit, World Cancer Congress and World Cancer Day for continued focus on:

- Developing specific time-bound targets and indicators to measure the national implementation of policies and approaches to prevent and control cancer

- Raising the priority accorded to cancer in the global health and development agenda

- Promoting a global response to cancer

UICC and its multisectoral partners are committed to encouraging governments to look towards the implementation and scale-up of quality and sustainable programmes that address the global burden of cancer and other NCDs. UICC is also a founding member of the NCD Alliance, a global civil society network that now represents almost 2,000 organisations in 170 countries.

For more information, please visit: www.uicc.org

[1] The Global Economic Burden of Non-communicable Diseases (2011)

About Bupa

Bupa's purpose is helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

We are an international healthcare company serving over 31 million customers worldwide. With no shareholders, our customers are our focus. We reinvest profits into providing more and better healthcare for the benefit of current and future customers.

Health insurance accounts for 17.9m customers and contributes 72% of our revenue. In health provision, we operate clinics, dental centres and hospitals in some markets serving another 13.6m customers. We also care for around 20,000 residents in our aged care businesses in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Spain.

We directly employ around 84,000 people, principally in the UK, Australia, Spain, Chile, Poland, New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, the US, Middle East and Ireland. We also have associate businesses in Saudi Arabia and India.

For more information, visit www.bupa.com.