Lance Armstrong Foundation and American Cancer Society Launch Patient Empowerment Project in Japan

Organizations to Support Cancer Patient Forum to Empower Patients to Share Their Stories
Aug 29, 2012 1:30 PM ET
Press Release

(3BL Media) Montreal - August 29, 2012 -  The Lance Armstrong Foundation, with partner American Cancer Society (ACS) and lead agency Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI), announced the launch of the Patient Empowerment Project in Japan. The announcement was made at the World Cancer Congress during the session, "Innovative Strategies to Empower Survivors in the Global Fight Against Cancer."

The Patient Empowerment Project was designed to amplify the cancer patient voice by allowing people to share their stories through testimony in a Forum in front of policy makers, media, and the public, elevating and bringing a face to the country's problems in cancer care.

"Our goal is to build a grassroots movement in Japan," said Foundation President and CEO, Doug Ulman. "In the long-term, the Patient Empowerment Project will highlight patient voices in order to bring visibility to gaps in cancer control and highlight the need for cancer to be a stronger priority on the country's health agenda."

"Cancer has been the leading cause of death in Japan for more than three decades, and we must act now to make a difference and save more lives," said American Cancer Society CEO, John R. Seffrin, PhD. "The Patient Empowerment Program in Japan is one of many critical steps we as global cancer-fighting organizations must take towards eliminating the burden of cancer worldwide, by empowering cancer patients to advocate for better cancer care in their countries."

Over the course of the Forum, experts will present specific data illustrating key cancer issues, which are supported and brought to life with testimony as patients speak publicly and share their stories. In the weeks or months after a Forum, a national call to action is designed, released and promoted detailing patient and NGO recommendations, calling on policy makers and other key stakeholders to take action on the issues raised at the Forum.

The concept of the Patient Empowerment Project was inspired by a series of Cancer Patient Forums that the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) supported beginning more than 10 years ago. In 2010, the Foundation and the Society added to the work that the UICC began by working with organizations in countries ripe for major cancer advocacy activity to create a framework for a Patient Forum that would not only provide organizations with funds to plan a Forum, but would also provide training and resources to execute one. The pilot program took place in South Africa, where the country held its first Patient Forum in May 2011. Shortly after, the Foundation and the Society successfully launched a similar initiative in Mexico.

This year, the Foundation and the Society are teaming up with the Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) to collaborate in boosting their grassroots advocacy efforts and more deeply engaging patients in the cancer policy-making process.

"It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of the Survivor Empowerment Campaign in Japan," said HGPI Chairman, Kiyoshi Kurokawa. "It is essential for each of us to be aware of the necessity of such effort, think about what we should do and take action."

As of 2008, less than 50 countries in the world have prepared or implemented national cancer control plans. Moreover, even in countries that have some national cancer control agenda, there are still significant breakages or failures within the health care system in terms of the physical, emotional and practical needs of cancer patients. These issues could range from a lack of data or lack of a cancer registry, to inadequate insurance coverage, to patients being excluded from decision making processes that have a direct impact on their treatment. However, cancer patients and their families can help shed light on what is working well in a health care system and what needs to be addressed in a country. As multiple countries engage in Patient Empowerment Projects, it is anticipated that an international patient advocacy movement will emerge.

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 earthquake struck Tohoku, Japan initiating a 130 foot tall tsunami and the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. As a result, 15,960 people died and destruction costs were more than $220 billion. Nearly every hospital in the zone was devastated and treatment and support of many cancer patients was interrupted.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation recognizes the need for ongoing support serving cancer patients affected by the earthquake in Japan. The Foundation and key partner, RadioShack, raised funds to provide relief grants for operating cancer treatment, survivorship or patient support programs to communities affected by this disaster. Grant recipients included: The Public Health Institute; Oncology Education Organization; Tohoku Re-Life 311; Tetsuyukai Medical Corporation, You Home Clinic Ishinomaki; and CancerNet Japan.

About the Lance Armstrong Foundation
The Lance Armstrong Foundation serves people affected by cancer and empowers them to take action against the world's leading cause of death. With its iconic yellow LIVESTRONG wristband, the Foundation became a symbol of hope and inspiration to people affected by cancer throughout the world. Created in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, the Foundation provides free patient navigation services to survivors with financial, emotional and practical challenges that accompany the disease. Known for its powerful brand -- LIVESTRONG -- the Foundation is also a leader in the global movement on behalf of 28 million people living with cancer today. Since its inception in 1997, the Foundation has raised nearly $500 million for the fight against cancer. For more information, visit

About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, and with programs in more than 20 countries, we fight for every birthday threatened by cancer in communities worldwide. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; by helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying people across the globe to join the fight. As a global leader in cancer research investment, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. To learn more or to get help, and for more information on our global programs, visit

About HGPI 
Since its establishment in 2004, the Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI) has been working to help interested citizens shape health policies by generating policy options and bringing stakeholders together as a nonpartisan think-tank. HGPI's mission is to improve civic and individual well-being and to foster as sustainable healthy community by shaping ideas and values, reaching out to global needs, and catalyzing society for impact. HGPI commits to activities that bring together relevant players in different fields to provide innovative and practical solutions and help interested citizens understand choices and benefits in a global, long-term perspective. HGPI promotes a Global Citizen Nation by building a society for people with various backgrounds and different values. It aims to achieve a sustainable, healthy, and more prosperous world. For more information, please visit