World Cancer Day 2017 takes place on 4th February. Every year about 8 million people around the world die from cancer. One in every two of us will at some point in our lives be diagnosed with the disease which has many forms. Survival rates over the last forty years have nearly doubled but more research and better engagement in screening and early detection is needed to save more lives.
World Cancer Day highlights this and aims to reduce the global burden of cancer and put it at the top of our global health priorities by raising awareness, reducing misinformation and raising funds. World Cancer Day 2017 is not a day to celebrate cancer but rather a day when organizations and individual people all over globe band together to highlight cancer. It is also an important opportunity to raise money for cancer care and research worldwide. The theme chosen is “We Can. I Can”. It is promoted with the hash tag #WeCanIcan across all social media platforms.
How to celebrate World Cancer Day 2017?
Why not have a look around your own community or neighbourhood to see if events are scheduled? All over the world large and small scale community events including sponsored walks, film screenings, public lectures and festivals are scheduled to mark World Cancer Day 2017. There are more than 370 activities planned across the globe so it’s likely there’s something happening near you. Local events will educate people on how to fight cancer by improving early detection, making healthier lifestyle choices and by quitting smoking. You could also organise your own live or virtual event in your community to respond to the need to raise awareness. You could head to New York for the highest profile event where the Empire State Building will be lit up in orange and blue, the colours that are identified with International Cancer Control.
World Cancer Day 2017 is also directed at misinformation and reducing stigma. Many of the World Cancer Day initiatives are designed to show solidarity and support for cancer patients. One of these is a global social media movement where participants shave their heads and post the photos online to show support to the courage of those in cancer treatment. If you don’t want to shave your head you can still share, post and like the selfies to your followers and friends. Of course, you can play your part by donating to a cancer research charity.
What can Individuals do?
The tag-line for World Cancer Day 2017 is We Can. I can. It is part of three year-long campaign which aims to raise awareness of how every one of us at individual level and at a collective level can make a pledge, take action and fight the worldwide scourge of cancer.
Individuals can make healthier lifestyle decisions such as eating well and participating in exercise. They can also increase their chance of avoiding cancer by avoiding smoking, consuming less alcohol and avoiding unprotected exposure to the sun. They can also become aware of symptoms and signs of cancer to improve rates of early detection which makes survival more likely and treatment less complicated. Individuals are also encouraged to be supportive of others who are living with and fighting cancer in their families and communities. As cancer survivors, individuals are encouraged to share their experiences and lift the taboo on talking about cancer.
What can communities do?
Communities can pressure local and national government to prioritise resources to fight cancer and to support survivors. Communities can ensure that we have affordable health care for all people who are diagnosed with cancer. Communities are also important in raising awareness and publicizing lifestyle issues that are linked to cancer such as staying safe in the sun and smoking tobacco. Workplaces and schools can highlight healthy life habits and pursue policies to discourage unhealthy habits such as lunchtime sporting activities and smoking bans. Communities also need to be vigilant to avoid discriminating against people with cancer.
If you want to find out more log on to http://www.worldcancerday.org/ for more information about events worldwide. You can follow the event on social media with the following hash tags #WorldCancerDay #WeCanICan.