September 22, 2010 23:40 ET

Lance Armstrong Addresses World's Cancer Crisis at Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

Leaders From Around the World Join Together to Advocate for Health Equity

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - September 22, 2010) -  Today, Lance Armstrong, LIVESTRONG® founder and chairman, cancer survivor and champion cyclist, addressed the growing international cancer crisis at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting in New York City. He was joined by health leaders from around the world at a special session where they discussed efforts to increase access to effective diagnosis and quality treatment for cancer in the developing world.

Cancer is the world's leading cause of death worldwide as of 2010. Currently, more than half of new cancer cases and almost two-thirds of cancer deaths occur in low and middle income countries. Research also shows that cancer has the most devastating economic impact of any cause of death in the world, costing the global economy nearly a trillion dollars a year.

"The impact of cancer around the globe is growing every day," said Armstrong. "This year, cancer is projected to become the world's leading cause of death, claiming more than eight million lives. Cancer is currently one of the most preventable and curable of the major life-threatening diseases, however, access to prevention and treatment for the 28 million people worldwide facing cancer is often not available. We must do more to ensure access, affordable care and equal health rights for the global community."

During a special session titled, "Addressing Cancer in the Developing World: Health Equity and an Overlooked Public Health Crisis," Armstrong was joined by moderator Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent and LIVESTRONG board member; Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder, Partners in Health; Dr. Felicia Knaul, director, Harvard Global Equity Initiative; Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired, director general, King Hussein Cancer Foundation; Dr. Charles-Patrick Almazor, director, Public Sector Partnership; and John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer, American Cancer Society. 

Armstrong also highlighted progress made by LIVESTRONG, the foundation he created to combat cancer, to reduce the global cancer burden and help make the case for advancing the needs of noncommunicable diseases in developing countries. The organization recently embarked on a campaign to increase awareness and inspire action to fight cancer on a global scale.

"Cancer is a worldwide epidemic that requires global action," said Doug Ulman, LIVESTRONG President and CEO. "At LIVESTRONG, we are working with the leaders of the world to change the course of this disease, one country at a time."

LIVESTRONG's commitment to making cancer a global priority started in 2008 at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, where Armstrong announced the launch of the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign. LIVESTRONG made this commitment after its worldwide research, conducted over 18 months, revealed widespread misconceptions, stigma and lack of awareness associated with cancer and recognized an immediate need to address this global epidemic.

In 2009, LIVESTRONG launched the first-ever unified global movement against cancer by urging world leaders, leading cancer organizations and cancer survivors to join its effort. After traveling to Australia, Mexico, Italy, Monaco, France and Ireland in its inaugural year, the LIVESTRONG Global Cancer Campaign achieved significant results generating more than 300 commitments to the fight against cancer. These commitments represent work in more than 60 countries around the world and an investment in cancer control of more than $200 million in year one alone.

In 2010, LIVESTRONG is continuing its trail-blazing efforts to reduce the burden of cancer by tackling the stigma that surrounds the disease. The Global Campaign launched in South Africa in March with a visit from Armstrong to fellow cancer survivors at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town and activities began in earnest in May with anti-stigma efforts and the Survivorship Empowerment Initiative. This summer, LIVESTRONG furthered its mission to raise cancer awareness globally as Armstrong competed on an international stage in the Tour de France.

Following their appearance at CGI today, Armstrong, Ulman and Seffrin toured the infusion suite at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center, where they were hosted by medical director Dr. Gabriel Sara. While there, they visited with patients who benefit from the Creative Center's Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program, which provides bedside art by trained artists in 20 hospital sites in the New York area and creates an atmosphere that is warm, nurturing and creative. Artists come in five days a week to work with patients while they receive their infusions or radiation and enhance the realm of psychosocial care during treatment. Nationally recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts as a best practice program, the AIR program gets patients' creative juices flowing and, in turn, lifts their spirits and gives them the energy and attitude they need to fight cancer head on.

Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong and based in Austin, Texas, LIVESTRONG fights for the 28 million people around the world living with cancer today. LIVESTRONG connects individuals to the support they need, leverages funding and resources to spur innovation and engages communities and leaders to drive social change. Known for the iconic yellow wristband, LIVESTRONG's mission is to inspire and empower anyone affected by cancer. For more information, visit

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
CGI brings together global leaders from all sectors of society to develop and then implement workable solutions to some of the world's most pressing issues. More than 1,000 members will attend, including current and former heads of state, chief executives of corporations, philanthropists, thought leaders, prominent members of the media, and directors of nonprofit organizations. Each member creates a Commitment to Action -- a detailed plan for addressing a major global challenge in the areas of Economic Empowerment, Education, Environment & Energy, and Global Health. Throughout the event, members share successful strategies, forge partnerships, and gain practical insights that they can use to enhance their work.

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