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World Cancer Day 2021: Understanding the Significance, Date, and Theme of This Day

World Cancer Day 2021: On this occasion, we try to understand why do we celebrate World Cancer Day, its history, significance and theme.

Published: February 3, 2021 5:42 PM IST

By Lifestyle Staff | Edited by Anjali Thakur

World Cancer Day 2021: Understanding the Significance, Date, and Theme of This Day
World Cancer Day (Picture Courtesy: Instagram)

World Cancer Day 2021: On February 4, every year the world celebrates Cancer day. This day is observed to spread awareness about the deadly disease, its prevention, and treatment. It aims to save the lives of millions who are at a greater risk of developing cancer. According to WHO, 1 in 6 death per year is caused due to cancer. This chronic condition claimed the lives of around 9.6 million people in the year 2018. Though, it is the most common condition about which most people are aware.

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This international day was marked by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to reach the goals set by the World Cancer Declaration which was written in the year 2008. World Cancer Day targets the stigma around cancer so that most people get to know the facts. On this global observance day, let’s try to understand its history, significance, and theme.

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History of World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day was established on February 4, 2000, at the World Cancer Summit Against Cancer for the New Millenium in Paris. The charter that was signed to officially mark the date as world Cancer Day, was aimed at saving millions of preventable deaths due to cancer by giving wings to a single initiative under which the entire world can come in sync and fight against the cancer epidemic. The charter included an article that says that the date of the signing of the document will be considered as World Cancer Day. It was signed by Kōichirō Matsuura, who was the General Director of UNESCO and French President Jacques Chirac.

Significance of World Cancer Day

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer.”, says the World Health Organisation. This international organization also states that the leading causes of one-third of deaths due to cancer are certain basic problems that could have been avoided easily. They include high body mass index, a sedentary lifestyle, us of tobacco, low intake of fruit and vegetable and alcohol consumption. Also, cancer has been found to be more prevalent in low-middle income countries. The increasing cancer burden is the reason why the observance of World Cancer Day is necessary. It can be easily reduced with just awareness about the risk factors and preventive measures. Also, timely diagnosis can help in the effective treatment of cancer and reduced mortality rate.

The theme of World Cancer Day

The theme for World Cancer Day 2021 is ‘I Am and I Will,’ a multi-year campaign that began in 2019 and this year will mark the last year. It aims at countering the myths, negative attitude,s and false beliefs associated with cancer. It also focuses on making people understand that even a single step can be impactful and can bring at least some change in society. So far, 7 themes have been addressed on World Cancer Day which includes:

2019 – 2020: I Am and I Will

2016 – 2018: We can. I can

2015: Not Beyond Us

2014: Debunk the Myths

2013: Cancer Myths – Get the Facts

2012: Together let’s do something

2010-2011: Cancer can be prevented

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