Darmstadt, Germany, November 1, 2016 – Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, and the American Cancer Society (ACS) today released a report that shows all four of the top causes of cancer deaths in women worldwide are mostly preventable or can often be detected early, when treatment is more successful. The report, titled “The Global Burden of Cancer in Women,” is the first tangible output from an innovative partnership between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and the American Cancer Society focused on raising awareness and strengthening advocacy around women’s cancers.

“We are proud to partner with the American Cancer Society to address the impact cancer has on women worldwide,” said BelÚn Garijo, member of the Executive Board and CEO Healthcare at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “This collaboration is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership that recognizes that no one sector can tackle this challenge alone. Improving women’s health and well-being has an uplifting ripple effect on our world, and we know when women do better, our communities do better.”

The research examines the increasing impact of cancer among women in low- and middle-income countries – and outlines potential solutions to minimize the economic and societal impact of the disease for women, their families and healthcare systems.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in women, with breast, colorectal, lung and cervical cancers claiming the most lives each year. With cancer rates on the rise as the global population grows and ages, the number of women who will lose their lives to cancer is expected to increase, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. In 2012, there were 3.5 million deaths among women due to cancer; by 2030 that number is expected to increase to 5.5 million deaths – a more than 57% increase in less than two decades. Increased education and prevention efforts will be essential to addressing this growing global health crisis.

“It’s incumbent upon both the public and private sectors, as members of the global health community, to find ways to reduce the impacts of cancer on women by increasing prevention and treatment, saving the lives of women across the globe,” said Ambassador Sally Cowal, senior vice president, global cancer control at the American Cancer Society.

In addition to the physical challenges women with cancer and their families experience, the burden of cancer also extends to the economy. The study found that in 2009, the global economic burden of cancer was estimated at about $ 286 billion, and much of that cost was due to premature death of members of the workforce. In the United States alone in 2008, years of productive life lost due to cancer in women corresponded to $ 82 billion, not to mention the many professional achievements that might have been realized.

The report was released at the World Cancer Congress during a panel moderated by Ambassador Cowal. Other participants included HRH Princess Dina Mired of Jordan; Dr. Alise Reicin, Head of Global Clinical Development in the biopharma business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany; and Dr. Edward L. “Ted” Trimble, director, Center for Global Health at the National Cancer Institute.

This partnership will also catalyse the evolution of the American Cancer Society’s All of Me Young Scholars program, which aims to educate and cultivate health and civil society professionals in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and India to affect meaningful change in prevention and early detection of cancers among women in low- and middle-income countries.

This report is part of the involvement of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, with the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies initiative, which explicitly links the issue of women’s health and well-being with economic growth. The full “Global Burden of Cancer in Women” report is available here.

About the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies Initiative
Merck KGaA, Darrmstadt, Germany, is a founding partner of the Healthy Women, Healthy Economies initiative, which brings together the evidence about women’s health and well-being and its impact on economic growth with the best practices that governments, employers and non-governmental organizations can follow. It aims to identify and implement policies that advance women’s health and well-being to increase their economic participation in the societies in which they live.

American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress, nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. We're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org

The American Cancer Society’s All of Me Young Scholars Program
The American Cancer Society’s All of Me Young Scholars program aims to educate and cultivate young health and civil society professionals around the world to bring their energy, voice and new ideas to the new and growing field of integration of women’s cancer prevention and early detection.