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World Cancer Day 2015 in Malta : Environmental Policy to Prevent Cancer-Causing Pollution

World Cancer Day: Action on environmental pollutants to close gap in cancer prevention

HEAL collaborated with its member organisation, Action for Breast Cancer Foundation in Malta, for World Cancer Day on 4 February in two events which attracted over 250 participants, and gained wide TV and print media coverage. HEAL’s Executive Director gave the keynote speech focusing on how environmental action on air pollution or harmful chemicals for example can be used as a lever for primary prevention of cancer, and highlighted work being done by cancer groups around the world.

The conference was opened by President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca who said environmental policies could play an effective role in preventing cancer.

Génon K Jensen, Executive Director of HEAL (right), welcomed Malta’s initiative to emphasise the often forgotten aspect of the fight against cancer, welcoming over 200 participants to the Verdala Palace.

“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.

“Cleaner air and reduced exposure to harmful chemicals in everyday products are two important interventions that can help prevent cancer – and help close the current gap in cancer prevention efforts,”

“HEAL focuses on policy changes at the EU level. But some of our members work closely with their governments on environmental protection to prevent cancer at national level. For example, France now addresses environmental pollutants in their national cancer plans. With the Malta Cancer Plan coming to an end this year, the Maltese Government has a great opportunity to strengthen this component in future anti-cancer strategy and plans.”

“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.”

Action for Breast Cancer Foundation, HEAL on World Cancer Day at the Verdala Palace under the Distinguished Patronage of Her Excellency Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta (centre of photo)
Photo credit: Joe Peel

Cancer survivors provide compelling testimonies

Two times young mum and cancer survivor, Rimona Alessia Ylenia (right), telling her story at the World Cancer Day 2015 conference in Malta, organised by Action for Breast Cancer. Listen to video here.

Andrew Grech (left), a survivor of testicular cancer, is raising awareness about male cancers in Malta by speaking to the press and via his Malta Male Cancer Awareness Facebook page.

HEAL’s work on Cancer and 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.

HEAL resources

- HEAL press release
- HEAL background briefing
- HEAL photo gallery
- Chemical Health Monitor (CHM) website
- CHM Resources - Breast Cancer - Prostate and Testicular Cancer
- Maltese EU Commissioner for Environment Karmenu Vella provided a video for the event

Video copyright: European Commission Extract from video: “World Cancer Day is not only meant to make us think, but more so to make us act,” he said.

More information

Other guests and speakers are included 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 4 February 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

More information about the event in Malta on Action for Breast Cancer Foundation’s website

More information about World Cancer Day 2015

Media coverage

Maltese Times

- February 4, 2015 - Article and video
- February 5, 2015 – Call for a reduction in harmful chemicals (front page hard copy)

Last updated on 20 February 2015

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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Press: Elke Zander

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