World Cancer Day

Published: 04 Feb 2020

Each year on 4 February, World Cancer Day seeks to empower everyone across the world to show support, raise our collective voice, take personal action and press our governments to do more to stop cancer. 

Myths, misinformation and stigma 

Some common myths and misconceptions about cancer cause fear. Just the very word 'cancer' can instill terror into many people because they think that cancer is incurable – but this just isn't true.  This fear can prevent them from seeking help early on, meaning they delaying or even avoid treatment altogether. If we continue to bury our heads in the sand, a late diagnosis will more than likely result in a far worse outcome, which in turn perpetuates the myths and misconceptions of cancer being incurable or untreatable. 

Filling the knowledge gap

Increased awareness, accurate information and greater knowledge can empower all of us to recognize the early warning signs, make informed choices about our health and counter our own fears and misconceptions about cancer. 

Early detection saves lives

Although not all cancers show early signs and symptoms, many do. Cancers we can spot in advance include breast, cervical, colorectal, skin, oral, and some childhood cancers, but often the signs are missed because we don’t know what to watch out for. 
It’s important to be aware of what the signs of cancer are.  Finding cancer early almost always makes it is easier to treat or even cure. 

Each of us can make sure we’re armed with the right information, so we know what's normal for our bodies and recognize unusual changes – and importantly, seek professional medical help promptly. 

Fast fact: A recent UK study found that for eight common cancers – bladder, bowel, breast, cervical, womb, malignant melanoma, ovarian and testicular cancers – survival is three times higher when diagnosed early.

Screening for cancer 

Even if you don’t have any signs or symptoms of cancer and may appear otherwise healthy, screening for some types of cancer can test for signs of it developing. 

Cancers that can be effectively screened for include bowel, breast, cervical, colorectal (colon) and lung. 

Prevention and risk reduction 

According to the World Health Organization, at least one-third of common cancers are preventable through a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active. We can prevent many cancers through lifestyle choices alone:

Fast fact: Smoking is linked to 71% of lung cancer deaths, and accounts for at least 22% of all cancer deaths.

World Cancer Day is encouraging us all to:

Information courtesy of

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