Monday, February 4th is World Cancer Day, when organizations and people around the world unite to raise awareness about cancer and work to make it a global health priority. An estimated 9.5 million people worldwide were expected to die from cancer in 2018 – about 26,000 cancer deaths a day – and that number is predicted to grow.
Around the world, communities will hold festivals, walks, seminars, public information campaigns and other events to raise awareness and educate people on how to fight cancer through screening and early detection, through healthy eating and physical activity, by quitting smoking, and by urging public officials to make cancer issues a priority.
This year, the Union for International Cancer Control, which organizes World Cancer Day, is launching a new 3-year campaign with the theme: “I Am and I Will.” It calls for a personal commitment to help reduce the global burden of cancer.
How people can help themselves:
- Make healthy lifestyle choices that include avoid using tobacco products, getting plenty of physical activity, eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, and staying safe in the sun.
- Know about signs and symptoms of cancer and early detection guidelines because finding cancer early often makes it easier to treat.
- Share stories about their own cancer experiences, communicate with decision-makers, and join support groups to help make positive change for all people affected by cancer.
- When possible, use work and other daily activities during and after cancer treatment as opportunities to maintain normality, routine, stability, social contact, and income.
How people can help others:
- Support cancer patients and survivors with the physical and emotional impacts of cancer even after treatment ends.
- Call on government leaders to commit adequate resources to reduce cancer deaths and provide a better quality of life for patients and survivors.
- Educate themselves and others about the link between certain lifestyle behaviors – including smoking, poor diet, and lack of physical activity – and cancer risk.
- Dispel rumors and myths that lead to stigma and discrimination against people with cancer in some communities.
- Encourage schools and workplaces to implement nutrition, physical activity, and no smoking policies that help people adopt healthy habits for life.