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World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day is a global observance that helps raise people’s awareness of cancer and how to prevent, detect, or treat it. This event is held on February 4 each year.

There are different symbols that help promote awareness of different types of cancers. For example, the pink ribbon symbolizes breast cancer awareness.

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What Do People Do?

People, businesses, governments, and non-profit organizations work together on World Cancer Day to help the general public learn more about the different types of cancer, how to watch for it, treatments, and preventative measures. Various activities and events include:

  • Television, radio, online, and newspaper advertisements, and articles that focus on the fight against cancer.
  • Nationwide campaigns targeted at parents to help them minimize the risk of cancer within their families.
  • Breakfasts, luncheons, or dinners aimed at raising funds for cancer research, or projects that help to fight cancer. Many of these events feature keynote speakers or video presentations.
  • Public information booths featuring information kits, fact sheets, booklets, posters, and other items that promote the cancer awareness, prevention, risk reduction, and treatment.

Some countries use World Cancer Day to promote campaigns on various cancer issues, such as breast cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, and cancer in children. Much focus goes towards awareness and risk reduction.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which is the directing and coordinating health authority for the United Nations (UN), works with organizations such as the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) on this day to promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer. Recurring themes over the years focus on preventing cancer and raising the quality of life for cancer patients.

Public Life

World Cancer Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world, according to WHO, which estimates that 84 million people will die of cancer between 2005 and 2015 without intervention. Low-income and medium-income countries are harder hit by cancer than the high-resource countries. It is essential to address the world's growing cancer burden and to work on effective control measures.

World Cancer Day is part of the World Cancer Campaign, which responds to the Charter of Paris adopted at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium on February 4, 2000. It called for a strong alliance between researchers, health-care professionals, patients, governments, industry partners, and the media to fight cancer.

The Charter of Paris designated February 4 each year as World Cancer Day. UICC is responsible for coordinating World Cancer Day globally. It receives support from various partners and organizations, including the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other international bodies. UICC organized the first World Cancer Day in 2006.

Symbols

There are different symbols that are used to help promote the fight against different types of cancers. For example, the pink ribbon is a global symbol of breast cancer awareness, while the orange ribbon is associated with child cancer awareness. Another example is the daffodil, which the American Cancer Society sees as a symbol of hope that people share for a future where cancer is no longer a life-threatening disease.

World Cancer Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015WedFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance
2016ThuFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance
2017SatFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance
2018SunFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance
2019MonFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance
2020TueFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance
2021ThuFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance
2022FriFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance
2023SatFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance
2024SunFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance
2025TueFeb 4World Cancer DayUnited Nations observance

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