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State visit to Portugal: Opening speech at cancer seminar

Speech given by His Majesty The King at the opening of seminar at Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto during state visit to Portugal, May 2008.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Cancer may strike all of us!

Cancer is one of the most prevalent public health diseases of our time. Every year approximately 11 million people get cancer and seven million die of this disease. In 2006 cancer caused at least twice as many deaths as AIDS. Half of these occurred in developing countries, where cancer is rapidly increasing.

These are facts and figures – what we must not forget is that behind these statistics are ordinary people whose lives suddenly take a new direction when they are given the diagnosis of cancer. Some of these people experience physical pain, depression and anxiety. Families are also strongly affected, and for many this can be very difficult times, especially if small children are involved.

Fighting cancer has to be addressed within the framework of international cooperation in order to increase knowledge and understanding of cancer diseases, their prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.

The professional cooperation between The Cancer Research Institute in Porto and The Norwegian Radium Hospital in Oslo is a proof in practical collaboration between Portugal and Norway to address these challenges and to find medical solutions to the benefit of the patients. This cooperation dates back to the late seventies and has resulted in 10 doctor’s degrees (PhDs) and more than 60 scientific publications in different international magazines.

The Norwegian Radium Hospital has had a close and long lasting cooperation with China – a project now also joined by Portugal. On the other side this institute in Porto has brought The Radium Hospital into their ongoing cooperation with Mozambique.

Today’s seminar has its focus on possibilities and impediments in cooperation within research and industrial development. This interlinked concept is of great importance in the effort to combat cancer and save lives.

I wish you all both a continued inspiring seminar and a prospective cooperation.


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