Developing and emerging countries, including China and India, account for a large proportion of the global population, and as measures to address infectious diseases in these countries bear results, we are seeing a transformation in the nature of diseases that affect these countries. It is against this backdrop that cancer is presenting an increasingly serious threat in developing countries (WHO. The World Health Report 2008-primary health care: now more than ever.) 'Global health' has become an often-heard term in discussions on international health, and backed by a number of well-funded global initiatives, it is now positioned as one of the major agenda items for the international community (Reich MR, Takemi K, Roberts MJ, Hsiao WC. Global Action on Health Systems: A Proposal for the Toyako G8 Summit. Lancet 2008;371:865-9). However, cancer has not yet attained its rightful position on this global health agenda. This paper gives an overview of the discussions that took place at the 5th Asia Cancer Forum. Based on the challenges and outlook for placing cancer on the global health agenda, we conduct analysis that focuses on top-down mechanisms and bottom-up mechanisms.
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