Did you know that in 2020 alone, about 10 million people died of cancer? That’s 1 in every 6 deaths making it one of the leading deaths in the world, hence World Cancer Day.
The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) founded World Cancer Day which we celebrate on February 4th. On this day, there’s a lot of education, awareness and community mobilization to act against cancer.
When Is World Cancer Day Celebrated?
World Cancer Day takes place on February 4th each year. This date was chosen based on the founding of the UICC in 1933. The first World Cancer Day was held in 2000 at the first World Cancer Congress in Paris, France.
Reasons World Cancer Day Is Important
- World Cancer Day informs people about cancer risks, tests to catch it early, signs of cancer and treatments.
- To encourage people, communities, and governments to stand up against cancer. It gets towns to offer screening events and enables leaders to make better cancer policies.
- World Cancer Day brings together people, groups, and nations to fight cancer as a team. As the saying goes, there’s energy in synergy.
Even small efforts can make a big difference in spreading information, supporting patients, and funding cancer services. Here’s what you can do on this day.
Educate Yourself and Spread Awareness
Learning key facts about cancer is the first step to fighting the disease. Educate yourself by finding out about risk factors, recommended screening guidelines, early warning signs and common symptoms of cancer and the latest treatments available. There are several ways you can do that including social media, presentations, and talks.
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Get Screened for Cancer
Screening can detect cancer early, which greatly improves outcomes. Visit your doctor to find out which tests you should get, and when to start based on your age, family history, and other risk factors. Overcome barriers like cost, lack of transportation or fear by asking for help from organizations that provide access. Set a scheduled screening reminder. Also, gently encourage your friends, loved ones and coworkers to get recommended cancer screenings.
Practice Healthy Habits
Making choices that reduce the risk of developing cancer in the first place is so important. Practice eating a balanced, nutritious diet. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains are good for your health. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes daily, even just taking regular brisk walks. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Avoid all tobacco products, and limit alcohol intake. Setting a positive example can inspire those around you to make healthier choices too.
Support Cancer Patients and Survivors
If someone in your life has been diagnosed with cancer, be there for them. Listen without judgment when they need to talk through their feelings. Offer practical help like meals, rides to treatment, childcare or help around the house. Send encouraging cards and small gifts. Just spending quality time and showing you care can make a difference.
Donate to Cancer Research
Donate money to reputable cancer organizations funds to support research that furthers understanding of cancer and develops improved treatments. It doesn’t matter the amount you choose to donate as no amount is too small. Many charities allow you to designate where your donation goes, like towards a specific type of cancer research or local patient support services. Every dollar you donate gears towards discoveries, better outcomes and saved lives.
Volunteer at a Cancer Organization
Consider volunteering your time and talents to support a cancer organization in your community. Local hospitals, clinics and nonprofits often welcome volunteers to take on meaningful roles assisting patients and families. You could provide rides, offer help, deliver meals, make supportive phone calls, help with events, or lend whatever skills you have. Donating your time is a direct way to uplift and empower those impacted by cancer.
Start a Fundraiser
Organize a fundraiser in your community with proceeds going to a reputable cancer organization. This can be anything from charity walks, runs, concerts and more. One way to get the community to join you is by spreading the word. Get them excited about participating and sponsoring. This provides financial assistance to cancer programs right in your area. The fight becomes strong when you see the community come together.
Advocate for Better Cancer Policies
Advocate for public policies that improve cancer prevention, screening access, treatment coverage, and research funding. You should reach out to your local, state and federal government representatives to voice your support for key issues. You can join advocacy groups working for change.
Encourage Friends and Family to Get Screened
Ask friends, loved ones and coworkers if they are up-to-date on their recommended cancer screenings. Offer information, encouragement, and even transportation or childcare help to overcome any barriers. Provide resource lists of organizations that assist with cost or access. Lead by example by getting screened yourself. Kindly encouraging others could motivate them to take this lifesaving step.
Wear Blue and Orange in Solidarity
Blue and orange are the official awareness colors of World Cancer Day. Wear clothing or accessories in these colors to visibly show your support and spark conversations on February 4th. Post photos of your blue/orange outfit on social media and share World Cancer Day facts. Encourage others in your school, workplace, or community to wear blue and orange too. The unified solidarity you show today will help raise vital awareness around cancer.
There are tons of activities you can do on this day. Get involved this February 4th by wearing orange, volunteering, donating, hosting an event, or spreading information.
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