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World Gastroenterology Organisation
World Gastroenterology Organisation

World Digestive Health Day 2019

Message from the Chair

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Early Diagnosis and Treatment of GI Cancer

Dear Colleagues,

Globally, cancer is the second leading cause of death1 with an estimated 18 million cancer cases around the world. Of those cases, 4 of the 7 top most common cancers are from the digestive system.2 It is because of this world health burden that the World Gastroenterology Organisation and The WGO Foundation have selected the Early Diagnosis and Treatment of GI Cancer as the focus of the 2019 World Digestive Health Day campaign.

Modifying or avoiding key risk factors, early detection, screenings, and treatment can reduce the number of deaths caused by cancer.1 By increasing awareness worldwide, and in particular among low- and middle-income countries where 70% of cancer deaths occur,1 the WGO global network of WGO member societies, partners, and sponsors can raise the level awareness.

WGO will seek to raise awareness of the Early Diagnosis and Treatment of GI Cancer through its annual public advocacy and awareness campaign, World Digestive Health Day. WDHD is celebrated each year on 29th May with associated events, activities, and initiatives continuing throughout and beyond the campaign year. WDHD will provide gastroenterologists, hepatologist, their patients, and the lay public with an understanding of the latest basic and clinical research in the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of GI cancers. This campaign will endeavor to inform physicians, pharmacists, allied health professionals, healthcare payers, and the public of the prevalence, risk factors, and causes of GI cancer. Most especially, we want to ensure that we present an evidence-based and patient-centered approach to the diagnosis and treatment of GI cancer.

WGO’s task is supported by a Steering Committee with a global perspective. The Steering Committee provides expertise on the Early Diagnosis and Treatment of GI Cancer, guides the course of the campaign, and develops educational and training materials. In collaboration with WGO Member Societies, WGO Training Centers and Regional Affiliate Associations, the Steering Committee defines this global initiative and provides the resources to sustain the effort throughout the year.

Through a multi-faceted campaign, WGO will provide simple messages for the general public in order to assist them in understanding how the modification and reduction of risk factors, early diagnosis, screening, and treatment of GI cancers affects one’s life and health. Secondly, WGO will develop information for healthcare professionals with an emphasis on healthcare professionals in low-resource, developing regions. Multiple informational pieces are planned and will be distributed worldwide, for patients and healthcare professionals. Through the WDHD 2019 campaign WGO looks forward to providing a better understanding and recognition of the Early Diagnosis and Treatment of GI Cancer. Your participation, through educating the public about the diseases, encouraging participation in screening programs, and promoting healthy lifestyle, is crucial for the success of this campaign.


Joseph Sung

Chair, WDHD 2019

Joseph Sung, MD
Hong Kong

1: “Cancer.” World Health Organization, 12 Sept. 2018,
2: “Worldwide Cancer Data.” World Cancer Research Fund, 2018,