World Cancer Day 2024: Key Facts about Cancer

Established in 2008 by the Union for International Cancer Control, it aims to reduce cancer-related morbidity and mortality by 2020.

World Cancer Day 2024: It is evident that cancer impacts nearly everyone at some point. World Cancer Day, observed on February 4th, serves as a crucial opportunity to raise awareness about prevention, detection, and treatment. Established in 2008 by the Union for International Cancer Control, it aims to reduce cancer-related morbidity and mortality by 2020.

In 2024, World Cancer Day will continue its global observance. Its mission is to educate and empower individuals regarding cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. The Union for International Cancer Control initiated this effort to support the goals outlined in the 2008 World Cancer Declaration.

History of World Cancer Day

The World Health Organization identified cancer as a major factor in global mortality, which led to the creation of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in 1993. The UICC, headquartered in Geneva, promotes medical research and strives for the worldwide eradication of cancer. The inaugural International Cancer Day took place in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1993, with support from various organizations, cancer societies, and treatment centers.

Formally established during the inaugural World Summit Against Cancer in 2000, World Cancer Day gained recognition as a significant global event. The ‘Charter of Paris Against Cancer,’ ratified during the summit, outlined ten articles dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients and enhancing efforts in prevention, treatment, and research. Article X of the charter designates February 4th as World Cancer Day.

Recognizing the diversity of cancer subtypes, distinct colors, and symbols are used to raise awareness for each type. For example, the orange ribbon symbolizes childhood cancer awareness, while the pink ribbon represents breast cancer awareness. The daffodil, used by the American Cancer Society, symbolizes hope for patients and survivors.

World Cancer Day brings together communities worldwide through various events and fundraisers each year. These initiatives convey the message that cancer patients are not alone and that everyone shares the responsibility to reduce the global impact of the disease.

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Frequently Asked Questions about World Cancer Day:

Why is World Cancer Day observed?

World Cancer Day, observed annually on February 4th, supports the World Cancer Declaration’s objectives, aiming to reduce cancer incidence and mortality rates.

What was the theme for World Cancer Day 2021?

The theme “I Am and I Will” underscored personal commitment and the transformative potential of efforts to combat cancer.

Who initially established World Cancer Day?

World Cancer Day was established through the ‘Charter of Paris Against Cancer,’ signed during the World Summit Against Cancer, led by Kōichirō Matsuura, the then-General Director of UNESCO.

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Participation in World Cancer Day:

  • Engage on social media through campaigns like Thunderclap, #WeCanIcan, and Support Through Sport.
  • Reflect on your commitment and take positive actions, such as making healthier choices or supporting cancer-related causes.
  • Reflect on others impacted by cancer and consider ways to contribute positively.

Key Facts about Cancer:

  • Cancer has a high mortality rate, with approximately 9.6 million deaths annually.
  • About one-third of common cancers are preventable and treatable.
  •  It ranks as the second-leading cause of death globally.
  • Cancer disproportionately affects low-income countries, constituting 70% of mortality cases.
  •  The economic burden of cancer is substantial, reaching approximately $1.16 trillion annually.

Significance of World Cancer Day:

  •  Preventing one-third of common cancers is achievable through effective strategies at various levels.
  •  Timely identification of cancer symptoms is crucial for improved outcomes.
  •  Open discussion about cancer can enhance support networks and lead to better individual, community, and policy outcomes.


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