of tobacco advocacy, where governments are often in receipt of funds from the tobacco industry, and in some countries this extends to individual politicians and even office bearers. Although the tobacco situation is unique, the principle of independence applies to any advocacy group, be it for support for breast cancer patients or for cervical cancer screening programs. Ideally, advocates should be free to use the media, mass volunteer influence, and all other mechanisms of persuasion to achieve their objectives.
It is not possible nor desirable to “control” the advocacy movement, as its very nature is a societal response to a variety of situations often, initially at least, driven by emotion. Success, however, does depend on advocating things that are achievable. A set of priorities and actions must be developed that are feasible economically and politically, and acceptable to society. This, in turn, requires analytical and planning expertise that may not exist among the advocates. Training to develop these skills should be a natural role for successful advocacy organizations in high-income countries.
The International Union Against Cancer is the undisputed leading international umbrella organization for cancer advocacy. Its work is described next. Among national cancer societies, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is the most active in promoting cancer advocacy in LMCs. The ACS work is described later in the chapter. What follows is a brief review of cancer advocacy in LMCs, followed by some basic principles and ideas by which the global community could help LMCs in this area.
The International Union Against Cancer, also known as UICC, is the most prominent and inclusive international body dedicated to cancer control. It is a membership organization with a small administrative head office, with controlling committees made up of volunteers. The most visible UICC activity is the World Cancer Congress, held every 2 years in a major city, the most recent in Washington, DC, in 2006. Several thousand participants from all sectors attend these meetings, the great majority from high-income countries, but with increasing representation from LMCs and attention to developing effective cancer control in those countries.
UICC has 270 member organizations in 80 countries. Many of these organizations are typical nongovernment, volunteer-based cancer societies, but many are also government-funded (often national) cancer institutes and research institutions. For example, Fiji and Estonia list only NGO members; Egypt and El Salvador list only government-funded cancer institutes. Many countries have only one member. This mix is beneficial for UICC, but government-funded institutes are not usually considered to be true advocacy bodies because they are not independent of government.