Observed every year on February 14th, World Cancer Day aims at raising awareness about the disease, its prevention, and treatment. 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 of the people get to know the facts. Today on this global observance day, we tell you about its history, significance, and themes.

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 the 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.

Themes of World Cancer Day

Every year, certain theme states the purpose of the campaign. This year, the theme of World Cancer Day is ‘I Am and I Will’. It aims at countering the myths, negative attitude 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 the society. So far, 7 themes have been addressed on World Cancer Day. They include:

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