Calling for ‘tobacco-free generation’, Macron boosts cancer research funds

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President Emmanuel Macron set France a target of reducing “avoidable deaths from cancer” by 50% over the next decade as he announced an increase in funding for cancer research and prevention on Thursday in a speech marking World Cancer Day.

Macron announced a 20% increase in funding over the next five years to combat a disease that remains the leading cause of death among French men and the second among women.

The French president promised to expand awareness campaigns, step up cancer screening and improve support for patients coping with the long-term effects of cancer treatment.

The aim, he said, is to "bring the annual number of avoidable deaths from cancer to 100,000, down from 150,000 today."

Macron stressed that tobacco is to blame for almost half that number, annuncing new measures to curb smoking and also reduce alcohol consumption.

He said he wished for people aged 20 in 2030 to be “the first tobacco-free generation in recent history”, calling for awareness campaigns to begin “from school age”.

His announcements come amid mounting concern that cancer patients have been left behind as governments focus on battling the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 77,000 people in France alone.