World Cancer Day

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World Cancer Day
Walk against Cancer in Abuja.jpg
World Cancer Day 2017
Also calledWCD
Observed byUN Members
ObservancesAwareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention
Date4 February
Next time4 February 2021 (2021-02-04)

World Cancer Day is an international day marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. World Cancer Day is led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer[1] and is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.[2] The day is observed by the United Nations.[3]

World Cancer Day targets misinformation,[4] raises awareness, and reduces stigma.[5] Multiple initiatives are run on World Cancer Day to show support for those affected by cancer. One of these movements are #NoHairSelfie, a global movement to have "hairticipants" shave their heads either physically or virtually to show a symbol of courage for those undergoing cancer treatment.[6] Images of participants are then shared all over social media. Hundreds of events around the world also take place.[7]


World Cancer Day was established on 4 February 2000 at the World Cancer Summit Against Cancer for the New Millenium, which was held in Paris.

The Charter of Paris Against Cancer,[8] which was created to promote research, prevent cancer, improve patient services, also included an article establishing the anniversary of the document's official signing as World Cancer Day, was signed at the Summit by the then General Director of UNESCO, Kōichirō Matsuura, and then French President Jacques Chirac in Paris on 4 February 2000.[9]

World Cancer Day themes[edit]

World Cancer Day 2011 in Vienna

The 2019-2021 campaign theme is 'I Am and I Will'. The theme seeks to counter the negative attitude and fatalistic belief that nothing can be done about cancer, and instead promotes how our personal actions can be powerful and impactful.[10]

In 2016, World Cancer Day started a three-year campaign under the tagline of 'We can. I can.', which explored the power of collective and individual actions to reduce the impact of cancer.[11] Prior to 2016, the campaign themes included "Not Beyond Us" (2015) and "Debunk the Myths" (2014).

Year Theme
2019 - 2021 'I Am and I Will.'[10]
2016 - 2018 'We can. I can.'
2015 Not Beyond Us[12]
2014 Debunk the Myths[13]
2013 Cancer Myths - Get the Facts [14]
2012 Together let's do something[15]
2010-2011 Cancer can be prevented[16]


Palace of Westminster illuminated in orange and blue for World Cancer Day 2019

World Cancer Day is marked by the international cancer community, governments and individuals around the world. Each year, more than 900 activities take place in over 100 different countries, with the day itself a trending topic on Twitter.[17]

In recent years, cities have begun to support the day by lighting up important landmarks in orange and blue. In 2019, 55 landmarks in 37 cities participated in the landmark lighting initiative.[17]

At least 60 governments officially observe World Cancer Day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "World Cancer Day 2013 One-Pager (English)". UICC. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
  2. ^ "World Cancer Day". World Health Organization. Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  3. ^ "International Days". January 6, 2015.
  4. ^ Szabo, Liz (3 February 2013). "World Cancer Day targets myths, spreads message". USA Today. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  5. ^ Gander, Kashmira (4 February 2016). "World Cancer Day: Why is the disease still a taboo?". The Independent. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  6. ^ Wheeler, Brad (27 January 2016). "Three international productions, including Scotland's The James Plays, to headline Luminato 2016". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  7. ^ "WCD | We Can. I Can". Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "World Cancer Day: Why the Fourth of February?". ASCO Connection. March 19, 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Campaign theme (I am and I will) | World Cancer Day".
  11. ^ "World Cancer Day 2016-2018 | WCD". Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  12. ^ "World Cancer Day 2015: 'Not Beyond Us' Campaign launched! | UICC". Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  13. ^ "World Cancer Day 2014: Debunk the myths! | UICC". Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  14. ^ "» Cancer Myths – Get the Facts on World Cancer Day – 4 Feb 2013 | CANSA – The Cancer Association of South Africa". Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  15. ^ "World Cancer Day: "Stand Up To Cancer!" and End Mesothelioma and other Asbestos-Caused Cancers - ADAO - Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization". Retrieved 2018-09-09.
  16. ^ "World Cancer Day 2010". 3 February 2010.
  17. ^ a b

External links[edit]