World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day Quick Facts - EU

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2024 Date4 February 2024
2025 Date4 February 2025

World Cancer Day

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World Cancer Day, organised by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), aims to raise awareness about cancer for prevention, early detection, and timely treatment of this pervasive disease. This health event accentuates the essence of global unity in the fight against cancer. With the mission, "We can. I can", it highlights each individual’s role in reducing the global burden of cancer. It encourages all to understand that our daily lifestyle choices can contribute substantially to the prevention of cancer.

To contextualize the history and relevance of World Cancer Day to the European Union (EU), it's worth mentioning that it was established in 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer held in Paris. Cancer represents a significant health challenge within the EU, with approximately 3.5 million new cases and 1.3 million deaths reported annually. Therefore, World Cancer Day embodies an essential platform for EU to spur opportunities for dialogue, propagate knowledge on cancer risks, and above all, advocate for effective policies and programs.

Within the EU, World Cancer Day campaigns are widely supported by various nonprofits, research centres, public health authorities and initiatives such as the "Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan". Events including educational seminars, fundraising activities, free screenings and public marches are held across member states aiming to inform and engage citizens in cancer prevention and control. Campaigns focus on making lifestyle changes, the importance of early detection, and advocating for equitable access to cancer services. World Cancer Day takes place every year on the 4th of February.

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Facts about World Cancer Day

  • The theme for World Cancer Day in 2024 was Together, we challenge those in power.
  • World Cancer Day was created on February 4, 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris. The Paris Charter aimed to promote research, prevent cancer, improve patient services, raise awareness, and mobilize the global community to make progress against cancer.
  • According to the World Health Organization, at least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. Lifestyle changes such as not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping active, and eating right can prevent certain types of cancer.
  • Cancer mortality rates are higher in Central and Eastern Europe than in Western Europe, partly due to differences in access to timely diagnosis and effective treatment.
  • The European Union recognizes cancer as the second leading cause of death in Europe, with over 1.3 million deaths annually.

Top things to do in the EU for World Cancer Day

  • Understand the risks of smoking and urge those that you know to quit smoking. Smoking accounts for 25% of all cancer deaths globally each year.
  • Join the fundraising activities to support cancer victims, their families, and the continued research efforts to find a cure. Many communities offer Walks for the Cure and other types of fundraising events that can support cancer survivors or those who receive treatment.
  • Learn to recognize some of the general signs and symptoms of cancer. Although they differ by the type of cancer, some of the American Cancer Society's general signs and symptoms are:
    1) the presence of an obvious mass (a bump)
    2) unexplained weight loss
    3) loss of appetite
    4) frequent fevers
  • Read a book to learn more about Cancer:
    Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes - by Ira Rosen.
    The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer - by Siddhartha Mukherjee.
  • Attend Conferences and Public Talks – Various medical and research institutions, as well as non-profit organizations, hold conferences and public talks on cancer awareness and recent research advances.

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