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2008年11月17日 (月)

対がん50年

2008/11/17 --The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 15(IHT/Asahi: November 17,2008)

EDITORIAL: 50-year cancer fight

対がん50年―患者に寄り添う時代に

Two-thirds of cancer can be prevented, and if detected early, can be cured.

 「がんの3分の2は、予防できるし早期に発見すれば治療できる」 

So says John Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, who recently made a speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Japan Cancer Society.

 先日の日本対がん協会創立50周年の記念講演で、米国対がん協会のジョン・セフリン会長はこう断言した。 

In order to prevent cancer, developed countries like the United States focus much of their efforts on restricting cigarette smoking as well as providing regular checkups. Japan, in contrast, is still far behind.

 米国などの先進諸国は、予防のためのたばこ対策とがん検診を重点的に進めている。おぼつかないのが日本だ。 

Since 1981, cancer has been the leading cause of death in Japan. Last year, about 340,000 people died of cancer. In other words, one third of deaths in Japan last year were caused by cancer.

 がんは1981年以来、日本人の死因のトップだ。昨年は約34万人、3人に1人はがんで亡くなった。 

Fifty years ago, the Japan Cancer Society had already foreseen this crisis. In its charter, it warned, "It is not too much to say that cancer is currently our largest public health issue."

 日本対がん協会は50年前、すでに危機感を抱いていた。設立趣意書に「がんは公衆衛生の面で現下の最大問題といって言い過ぎではない」とある。 

The Japan Cancer Society--a private organization--works to promote research, train experts, and spread public awareness. It places great emphasis on cancer checkups, and works especially hard to spread the practice of group checkups for early detection of stomach cancer.

 民間の立場でがんを征圧しようと、研究の推進や専門家の養成、国民への啓発活動を進めてきた。胃がんの集団検診を世界に先駆けて始めるなど、検診の普及にはとくに力を入れた。 

Of course, the government has the most important role in combating cancer. The society's charter also says one of its major goals is to "have the government adopt the fight against cancer as an official administrative task of the government."

 むろん、がん対策では何よりも政府の役割が重要だ。趣意書も「一刻も早く、がん対策を国家行政の線にのせること」を大きな目標として挙げた。 

It has been a half century since those words were written. In 2006, the basic law against cancer was created. The basic anti-cancer promotion program based on that law aims to reduce the rate of cancer deaths by 20 percent in 10 years. It also seeks to increase the rate of cancer checkups from the current 20 percent to more than 50 percent in five years.

 それから半世紀、06年にはがん対策基本法ができた。それに基づくがん対策推進基本計画は、がんで亡くなる人の割合を10年で20%下げるという目標を掲げる。現在約20%の検診受診率を5年で50%以上にすることもめざす。 

However, the government's responsibility is not clear under this program. The government has been unenthusiastic about measures to reduce smoking, and also forces local municipalities, already short on funds, to bear the costs of the cancer checkups. To increase the rate of those who get checked for cancer, governmental funds are essential. In the long run it would save money. The fight against cancer must become the government's "official administrative task" in the real sense.

 しかし、この計画で政府の責任は明確ではない。たばこ対策には及び腰だし、検診も財政難の市町村に負担を強いている。効果があるとわかった検診の受診率を上げるには財政支援が欠かせない。長い目でみれば、医療費抑制にもなるだろう。本当の意味で「国家行政の線」にのせねばならない。 

In the past 50 years, our relationship with cancer has changed greatly. Nowadays, we are told of our illness, choose our treatment, and live our post-cancer lives. The days when everything was up to the doctor are gone.

 この50年で、がんとの向き合い方は大きく変わった。告知を受け、自ら治療法を選び、治った後の人生を生きる。医師任せの時代は終わったのだ。 

In a reflection of these times, Seffrin pointed out the importance of the private sector providing appropriate information and support to patients and families.

 こうした時代の変化を映すように、セフリン会長は、民間が果たすべき重要な役割として、患者や家族への的確な情報提供と支援を挙げる。 

The American Cancer Society takes phone consultations 24 hours a day, free of charge. It gets 3,000 calls a day. Its activities are widely known, and it receives huge donations, more than 100 billion yen each year, which are used to support the society's wide range of activities.

 米国対がん協会は24時間態勢で無料の電話相談に応じている。毎日約3千件の相談があるという。活動は広く知られ、年に1千億円を超す巨額の寄付がさまざまな活動を支えている。 

Takeo Sekihara, board member of the Japan Cancer Society, and a survivor of six cancer operations, says more activities that support the patients and families are needed.

 自らもがんの手術を6回受けた日本対がん協会常務理事の関原健夫さんは、こうした患者や家族を支える活動がもっと必要だという。 

The Japan Cancer Society started its "cancer hotline" in 2006, but there were only about 3,500 phone consultations in 2007.

 日本でも協会のがんホットラインが06年に始まったが、07年の相談件数は約3500件にとどまる。 

The Asahi Shimbun supported the Japan Cancer Society from its inception, and has supported its activities ever since. When the society was created, we ran an editorial calling for the eradication of cancer. That editorial includes a phrase that says, "cancer is extremely difficult to cure." But these days, cancer has become a disease with a cure.

 朝日新聞社は協会設立を後押しし、支援してきた。設立時の本紙社説でも、がん征圧への協力を呼びかけた。そのなかに「ガンは極めて難治」という言葉がある。いま、がんは治せる病気になった。 

We wish to learn from our experiences of the past 50 years, and create a world where society comes together to support the future of cancer patients.

 50年の経験を踏まえ、がん患者の未来を社会で支える時代にしたい。

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