While we live in a time of awe-inspiring advancements in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, many of us who seek cancer care hit barriers at every turn. Income, education, geographical location, and discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, and lifestyle are just a few of the factors that can negatively affect care.
Each year on 4 February, World Cancer Day empowers all of us across the world to show support, raise our collective voice, take personal action, and press our governments to do more. World Cancer Day is the only day on the Global Health Calendar where we can all unite and rally under the one banner of cancer in a positive and inspiring manner.
The global cancer epidemic is huge and is set to rise. Currently, 8.2 million people die from cancer globally each year – almost 50% are premature deaths (aged 30 to 69 years).
Global disparities in access to prevention, treatment, and palliative care are growing exponentially. We all need to take urgent action to raise awareness about the disease and to develop practical strategies to address the cancer burden.
World Cancer Day is an initiative by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). UICC is the leading international non-governmental organisation that unites the cancer community to reduce the global cancer burden, promote greater equity, and integrate cancer control into the world health and development agenda.
The World Cancer Day 2022-2024 theme is “Close the Care Gap“
This World Cancer Day, what will you learn about the gap in cancer care?
This year’s World Cancer Day’s theme, “Close the Care Gap”, is all about uniting our voices and taking action. We build stronger alliances and innovative new collaborations and celebrate real-world progress in its many forms. #CloseTheCareGap #WorldCancerDay
This 4 February, we call on you, whoever and wherever you are, to play your part in creating a cancer-free world.
A 3-year Campaign for Impact
World Cancer Day is more than a day on the calendar. That’s why our campaign is built to inspire change and mobilise action long after the day itself.
A multi-year campaign means more exposure and engagement, more opportunities to build global awareness, and ultimately more impact.
2022: Realising the Problem
Last year was the first year of the ‘Close the Care Gap’ campaign, which focused on understanding and recognising the inequities in cancer care around the globe. It was about having an open mind, challenging assumptions, and looking at the hard facts:
- Inequity in cancer care costs lives.
- People who seek cancer care hit barriers at every turn.
- Income, education, location, and discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, and lifestyle are just a few of the factors that can negatively affect care.
- The gap affects everyone, including you and your loved ones.
These barriers are not set in stone. They can be changed.
This World Cancer Day, what will you learn about the gaps in cancer care?
2023: Uniting our Voices and Taking Action
This year the focus is on uniting our voices and taking action. Advocates will join with like-minded people because we know that we are stronger when we are united. We celebrate real-world progress in its many forms and allow that momentum to fuel our fight for fairness. We’ll do more than spread the word – we’ll shout it from the rooftops. We’ll build stronger alliances and innovative new collaborations.
Together we are unstoppable – It’s time to close the care gap!
Actions can take countless forms:
- Motivating neighbours to provide transport to cancer treatment for a fellow resident, or
- Ensuring that healthy and affordable food options are offered at the local school.
- Mobilising friends, family, coworkers, and communities to volunteer assistance.
What do we mean by “inequity”?In healthcare, inequality refers to the uneven distribution of resources. By contrast, inequity means unjust, avoidable differences in care or outcomes. The difference may seem subtle, but closing the cancer care gap isn’t really about simply providing everyone with equal resources. One size doesn’t fit all, and every challenge demands a different solution. Equity is about giving everyone what they need to bring them up to the same level.
Explore the barriers that stand in the way of cancer care:
- Gender norms and discrimination
- Barriers for minority populations
- Socioeconomic status
- The rural-urban divide
- Age discrimination
- Refugee status and forced displacement
- Homophobia, transphobia and related discrimination
- Barriers for care for people with disabilities.
Where you live. Who you are. Where you come from. What you do. Who you love. These are called the social determinants of health, and they represent the many factors that may lead to inequities. They can unfairly stand between you and cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
Did you Know?
- 10 million people died from cancer in 2020.
- 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle-income countries.
- Less than 30% of low-income countries have cancer treatment services available (compared to 90% in high-income countries).
“On World Cancer Day, let us resolve to end the injustice of preventable suffering from this disease as part of our larger push to leave no one behind.
”Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General, United Nations