Action for Breast Cancer Foundation in Malta

For World Cancer Day 2015, the year theme is #NotBeyondUs

WCD15 poster
HEAL is participating in World Cancer Day 2015 in Malta, backing action on environmental pollutants to close gap in cancer prevention.

Action for Breast Cancer Foundation in Malta is organising a both a morning and evening event for the World Cancer Day on February 4th at the Verdala Palace under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Excellency Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta.

The Conference will focus on Environmental Policy as a lever for cancer prevention and it is aimed for Health and Environmental NGO’s, Health Care Professionals, Medical doctors, Medical and Health Science Students etc.

Génon K Jensen, Executive Director of Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), is a keynote speaker and will welcome Malta’s initiative to emphasise the often forgotten aspect of the fight against cancer.

HEAL welcomes Malta’s initiative on World Cancer Day to highlight a missing link in cancer prevention by focussing on the role of environmental policy. We hope the experience can inspire other European countries to take up the issue during European Week against Cancer in May.

Within the past 18 months, the World Health Organization’s cancer agency (IARC) has officially recognised air pollution as a contributor to lung cancer. The experts also noted a positive association between higher levels of air pollution and an increased risk of bladder cancer.

Some chemicals in the work and home environment are known to be carcinogenic; others disrupt the human hormone system and are associated with hormonal cancers, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer. The incidence of both these cancers is high having increased rapidly in recent decades in Europe. Experts are in agreement that these upward trends cannot derive from genetics, or an aging population nor on better screening alone; environmental factors, especially exposure to certain hazardous chemicals, is one of the likely causes.

National cancer plans often address environmental factors – but much more needs to be done if the opportunities for primary prevention of cancer are to be fully optimised. “

HEAL’s work on Cancer & Environment

HEAL has been working since its inception in 2003 to bring attention to opportunities for preventing chronic conditions, including cancer, through the promotion of a less toxic environment.

More information
  • Further expected guests and speakers are amongst others EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella , Prof. Christian Scerri from the University of Malta, Esther Sant from Action for Breast Cancer Foundation, Europa Donna Malta and many more.
  • World Cancer Day is a global event taking place every year on February 4th with the aim to unite all for the fight against cancer and raising awareness about cancer and prevention.
  • Please find here the full programme of the event for the morning event and evening event.
  • Please find here the registrations links for either the morning session or evening session.
  • Environmental protection of personal importance to 99% of Maltese, timesofmalta, February 4, 2015.
Original post
  • HEAL participating in World Cancer Day 2015 in Malta, blog latest news, FEBRUARY 2, 2015.

Euro Cancer Leagues calls for action on EDCs now!

Let’s tell the EU to stop exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals

Written by Christel Schaldemose

Association-of-European-cancer leagues (ECL)  image
MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) Briefing: EU Consultation on Endocrine Disruptors – Let’s tell the EU to stop exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals, not tomorrow, but today.

A representative of one of Europe’s most influential cancer organisations, the association of European cancer leagues (ECL) recently told a meeting of MEPs against cancer that curbing exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals should become a central part of cancer prevention strategy in Europe.

ECL, which focuses on the prevention and control of cancer, brings together national and regional cancer leagues with a staff of more than 6000 throughout Europe. Its director Wendy Tse Yared said that rapid rises in rates of breast and prostate cancer in recent decades could not be explained by improved diagnostics.

She noted that this upward trend coincided with an increase in chemicals and that sufficient evidence now exists that endocrine disrupting chemicals heighten cancer risk.

Effective regulation could contribute to reductions in hormonal cancers, including of the breast, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and of the prostate, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men.

It may also help to bring down rates of testicular cancer, which is increasing among young men in Europe. A recent study by Nordic countries on male reproductive health problems associated with these chemicals suggested that endocrine disrupting chemicals might be responsible for up to 40 per cent of all cases of testicular cancer.

Dutch toxicologist Dr Majorie B.M. van Duursen told the meeting that numerous studies on breast cancer showed that exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as BPA, PBDE and pesticides, can adversely affect the normal development of the mammary gland, potentially making it more susceptible to cancers.

She stressed that one or two new studies were appearing each day on endocrine disrupting chemicals and chronic conditions, including hormonal cancers, infertility, obesity and diabetes.

A review by the world health organisation in 2012 recorded the considerable advances in the scientific evidence that had been made since 2002. No-one can say that we don’t know enough to justify reducing people’s exposure to these chemicals, said Dr Duursen.

The not-for-profit Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), which brings together over 70 member organisations to address how environmental protection can improve health in the European Union has been advocating stronger action to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals for many years.

Genon K. Jensen, HEAL’s director told the meeting that her members, which include cancer groups, are convinced that exposure to EDCs is a likely explanation of why cancers that are hormone dependent have been rising.

She said that HEAL was part of a coalition of non-governmental organisations called ‘EDC-Free Europe‘ that was helping ordinary individuals to respond to the EU consultation on EDCs. An online platform launched five weeks ago has allowed more than 10,000 individuals to respond.

But despite the rapidly growing scientific evidence and the growing public concern, the delays in effective action continue. What is needed now is a proper identification of EDCs – one that ensures these harmful chemicals are found and ultimately eliminated.

My hope is that this MEPs against cancer meeting will help convince the commission that action now needs to happen. Not tomorrow, but today.

Sources and more information