Progress in science bestows upon people the promise of limitless possibilities and the means to live longer. Humankind has devoted much time and effort in the fight against disease.

Of all diseases cancer causes the longest suffering and impediment to people’s lives, and the final brave fight against the disease, or the shock of being confronted with it creates a negative image among patients and their families.

Cancer is not merely a biological phenomenon, it is also has anthropological aspects.

It is strongly colored by the cultural impact of various interlinked lives. The cultural diversity in Asia may be an obstacle to overcoming cancer, but this cultural diversity is also a tremendously powerful force for seeking to live longer. It is our responsibility to carefully bring together the various societies in Asia and seek to address the various different views and perceptions regarding cancer in the region.

Cancer is a disease that is still thought of as a scourge of industrialized nations, but its incidence is in fact increasing most rapidly in the developing world, including India and China, which makes it all the more urgent for Asia to decide how to face and overcome cancer.

In the near future the international community is likely to face an unjust situation in which some people with the same disease will be cured while others will suffer and die. It is this grave reality that we must address.

Infectious diseases like AIDS and malaria attract wide attention in the global health community. However, the time is not far off when development aid will be forced to also pay attention to the issue of cancer. We must consider what principles and philosophy will be required when such a day comes.

It is at the Asia Cancer Forum that we hope to spend time discussing these issues together, linking the precious lives of the people of Asia.