Professor David Hill, Director of The Cancer Council Victoria, will commence in his role as President of the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) on 27 August 2008 at the World Cancer Congress in Geneva.
The UICC is a powerful advocacy group with more than 300 member agencies including Cancer Research United Kingdom and the American Cancer Society.
Under Professor Hill's leadership the UICC will drive the worldwide agenda improving cancer prevention and survival through its membership base.
Professor Hill is only the second Australian to take up the role of President of the UICC. Dr Nigel Gray, former Director of The Cancer Council Victoria, held the position from 1994 to 1998.
Professor Hill said Governments around the world that focus on cancer prevention campaigns today will potentially save the lives of millions of people.
"This will have a substantial impact on the healthcare system, decreasing the pressure as more cancers are prevented," he said.
"We have the knowledge today to reduce the cancer burden worldwide. In Australia, cancer survival has increased significantly over the past two decades with 58% of men and 64% of females surviving beyond 5 years of their cancer diagnoses," Professor Hill said.
"If we compare this to the period from 1982-1986, only 41% of men and 53% of women were surviving five years after their cancer diagnoses."
Professor Hill highlights that with more than 7 million people worldwide dying from cancer and close to 11 million new cases diagnosed every year, the road to fighting cancer is a long one.
However, Professor Hill said that there is a great opportunity to implement what we already know about cancer and improve the worldwide cancer survival.
"Seventy per cent of worldwide cancer deaths have occured in low and middle-income countries, which belies the assumption often made that cancer is not a significant problem beyond affluent nations.
"So much of the cancer burden is dependent on people's behaviour or lifestyles," he said. "One's decision to avoid smoking, be SunSmart, reduce alcohol intake, eat a nutritionally balanced diet, exercise regularly and participate in vaccination programs can significantly impact the cancer burden."
Professor Hill said the trick to making inroads in cancer is to share the responsibility we all carry to change our cancer-related behaviours of those whose lifestyle habits we have some influence on.
Professor David Hill AM is Director of The Cancer Council Victoria. He is a behavioural scientist and was the founding Director of its Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer.
Professor Hill is a Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne. In 2001, he was awarded the national honour of a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for "services to the promotion of community health, particularly in the development of cancer awareness and prevention programs".
Professor Hill, who received his PhD in psychology from the University of Melbourne, has authored or co-authored over 200 scientific articles and reports in the medical, public health and psychological literature.
His published work includes research on the prevalence of adolescent and adult smoking, strategies for smoking cessation, reduction of smoking uptake, smoking regulation, behavioural aspects of screening mammography, management of primary operable breast cancer, efficacy of breast self-examination, monitoring trends in skin cancer prevention, and exploring determinants of behaviours related to skin cancer prevention.
Belinda Goldfinch, Media and Communications Officer
m - 0419 552 719 e - Belinda.Goldfinch@cancervic.org.au