World Cancer Day Recognized Around the World

Each year on Feb. 4, people from around the world recognize World Cancer Day, an initiative to increase awareness of the global burden of cancer and promote strategies for reducing cancer incidence and death rates.

Each year on Feb. 4, people from around the world recognize World Cancer Day, an initiative to increase awareness of the global burden of cancer and promote strategies for reducing cancer incidence and death rates. This year’s theme of “not beyond us” reflects an ambitious goal to reduce the number of premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25 percent by 2025.

With 8.2 million cancer deaths worldwide every year, the program’s concerted push for awareness and action has grown over the past several years. The international initiative is spearheaded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), an organization that brings together the world’s major cancer societies, government health organizations, research institutes, and patient groups to reduce cancer’s impact. This year, large organizations such as the American Cancer Society, the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Society of Clinical Oncology are recognizing the importance of the day.

“World Cancer Day 2015 will take a positive and proactive approach to the fight against cancer, highlighting that solutions do exist across the continuum of cancer, and that they are within our reach,” Tezer Kutluk, president of the UICC and a pediatric oncologist, said in an email to CURE. “We want to explore how we can implement what we already know in the areas of prevention, early detection, treatment and care, and in turn, open up to the exciting prospect that we can impact the global cancer burden for the better.”

The organization has highlighted four areas on which to concentrate its efforts: promoting healthy lifestyles, early detection, affordable and improved healthcare for all, and improving the emotional, psychosocial and physical impact of cancer after diagnosis and beyond.

Around the world, government organizations, advocacy groups, healthcare institutions, companies involved in cancer research and local communities will recognize the day with social media chats, information campaigns, and events to raise awareness and cancer funding.

At Oregon Health and Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute, World Cancer Day’s focus on early detection mirrors the university’s ambitious goal of creating a large research program dedicated to the topic.

“We’re in the midst of a $1 billion fundraising campaign that will support a unique vision of early detection of cancer. The deadline we’re holding ourselves to is World Cancer Day next year,” says Deputy Director Tomasz Beer. “Our initiative is really a unique effort, and we found it to be appropriate to leverage the relationship with World Cancer Day.”

And while World Cancer Day 2016 will be a major event for OHSU, this year it will be business as usual, says Beer.

“We primarily will go to work, take care of our patients and work in our laboratories,” he says. “For us, every day is World Cancer Day.”