Create a future without cancer. The time to act is now.

Today, we know more about cancer than ever before. Through investing in research and innovation, we have witnessed extraordinary breakthroughs in cancer care, diagnostics, and scientific knowledge.

Yet, 10 million people die each year from cancer.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “That is more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. By 2030, experts project cancer deaths to rise to 13 million. If we do not act. The time to act is NOW.”

The global community commemorates World Cancer Day, on February 4, and the chosen campaign is ”I Am and I Will” (2019-2021). WHO joins this campaign to call everyone, collectively and individually, to commit to strengthen actions aimed to reduce the impact of cancer. This can be achieved by leveraging media to improve credibility, reducing cancer risk factors, screening, and detecting cancer at early stages, and most importantly, improving access to diagnosis, adequate treatment and palliative care.

Origin of World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day was convened on February 4th, 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris.

World Cancer Day is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the largest and oldest international cancer organisation dedicated to taking the lead in convening, capacity building and advocacy initiatives that unite the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, promote greater equity, and integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda.

World Cancer Day pledges

– We believe that individuals, together, can create change.

– We believe by raising the public literacy and understanding around cancer, we reduce fear, increase understanding, dispel myths and misconceptions, and change behaviours and attitudes.

– We believe that access to life-saving cancer diagnosis, treatment and care should be equal for all, no matter where you live, what your income, your ethnicity or gender.

– We believe that governments must be accountable and national leadership on policies, legislations, investment, and innovation is key to accelerated progress.

– We believe when leaders speak up and act, we give ourselves a chance to make history and to move towards a world without cancer.

Alarming Inequities Globally

In previous years, the World Health Organization highlighted the need to step up cancer services in low and middle-income countries. WHO warns that, if current trends continue, the world will see a 60% increase in cancer cases over the next two decades. The greatest increase (an estimated 81%) in new cases will occur in low- and middle-income countries, where survival rates are currently lowest.

In 2019, more than 90% of high-income countries reported that comprehensive treatment services for cancer were available in the public health system compared to less than 15% of low-income countries.

“This is a wake-up call to all of us to tackle the unacceptable inequalities between cancer services in rich and poor countries,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO. “If people have access to primary care and referral systems then cancer can be detected early, treated effectively and cured. Cancer should not be a death sentence for anyone, anywhere.”

Reducing the numbers

2020 Statistics from Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal:

– The most frequently diagnosed types of cancer among men are: prostate (21.7%), lung (8.9%), colorectal (7.8%), bladder (4.5%) and melanoma of the skin (3.4%).

– Among women, the types of cancer with the highest incidence are: breast (25.4%), lung (8.5%), colorectal (7.9%), thyroid (5 %) and cervical (3.8%).

– The type of cancers with the highest mortality in men are: lung (18%), prostate (11.1%), colorectal (9.4%), liver (6.1%) and stomach (5.6%).

– The cancers that cause the most deaths among women are: breast (13.2%), lung (12.3%), colorectal (7%), cervical (5.3%) and ovary (3.9%)

It is estimated that 30-40 percent of cancers can be prevented by reducing the significant risk factors. Public health policies can be put in place to support individual healthy lifestyle choices, and that makes them the easy choice. Many other cancer types, notably cervical, breast and colorectal cancer can be detected early and treated effectively through organised screening and early detection programmes, and access to timely cancer treatment.

2021: The final year of the ‘I Am and I Will’ campaign

For the past two years, World Cancer Day supporters around the world have been sharing their ‘I Am and I Will’ commitments, pledging bold and brave actions to reduce the impact of cancer.

This coming World Cancer Day (2021), in the final year of the ‘I Am and I Will’ campaign, the global community is invited to participate and share their journey in achieving the ‘I Am and I Will’ commitment.

Take the World Cancer Day 21 Days to Impact Challenge

It takes the proverbial 21 days to create a positive habit. So, for 2021, whether you are committing to improving your personal health, supporting someone you love with cancer, educating yourself about cancer, speaking out against cancer or making history by helping to eliminate cervical cancer, we at HEALTH PLUS are inviting you to take one (or all) of these challenges.

Together, all our actions matter

This year is a reminder of the enduring power of cooperation and collective action. When we choose to come together, we can achieve what we all wish for: a healthier, brighter world without cancer.

Many of us have been touched by cancer and we all have a story to share.

Sharing openly about cancer and our experiences makes a huge difference in increasing awareness, understanding, overcoming stigma and reducing fear. HEALTH PLUS invites you to share with us your journey of Cancer, be it honouring the life of a loved one or your personal warrior story of resilience. Reviewed stories will be published as part of our commitment to the World Cancer Day 21 Day Challenge

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For more information on the 21 Day Challenge visit: