Today is World Cancer Day, a multifaceted project begun in 2000 by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). This organization is a long-time leader in uniting people and governments in ways to reduce cancers globally. Their mission encompasses the world to provide cancer diagnoses, treatments, and care to all people – without regard to location, income, ethnicity or gender.
February 4th, 2000 was the day of its adoption at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris. Since that day, World Cancer Day is observed every February 4th as a day throughout the world for people to recommit to striving for a world without cancer.
What can be done?
• Individuals: It starts with one person, ourselves. Get regular checkups. Keep current on new developments for diagnosing and screening for cancers. Notice any signs or symptoms and have them checked. Many cancers are survivable if diagnosed early.
• Health professionals: If you are a health professional, keep abreast of innovative and up-to-date medical news about cancers. Since early detection is critical, a symptom could go unnoticed, or even misdiagnosed, if outdated knowledge led to a wrong conclusion.
• Governments: Through the ability to educate large population segments, governments can emphasize awareness, early detection, and screening. In fact, February is National Cancer Prevention Month in the US. This creates awareness throughout the country.
Because cultural beliefs can vary among countries and populations, communities have the ability to allay fears and teach good health practices.
What actions can you take for World Cancer Day?
On the World Cancer Day website is a 21 day challenge in which you can participate. It takes 21 days to create a habit, so for each of these days you’ll be sent emails with suggestions on how best to succeed at your commitment. There are five challenges from which you can choose:
• Focus on my health
• Support someone I know with cancer
• Speak up about cancer
• Get informed about cancer
• Help eliminate cervical cancer
An important point to remember, written in the World Cancer Day website:
“Whoever you are – a cancer survivor, co-worker, a carer, a friend, a leader, healthcare worker, teacher or student – you have the power to take action for a cancer free world.”