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World Cancer Day: A positive, proactive approach to cancer

World Cancer Day
World Cancer Day seeks to raise awareness and urge governments to take action against the disease, ultimately to save millions of lives.

Every year, the world comes together in the fight against cancer. Today, on World Cancer Day, the message to patients and survivors is one of action. The global campaign is launched each year on Feb. 4 to highlight what we can do to prevent cancer, find it early and treat it appropriately.

World Cancer Day seeks to raise awareness and urges action against the disease, ultimately to save millions of lives. Millions of lives may potentially be saved worldwide every year if cancer was caught early or treated appropriately, according to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), which organizes the campaign. Here’s a look at the four ways this day promotes a positive and proactive approach to fighting cancer:

Healthy lifestyle choices

The goal here is to empower you to make healthy choices, and to reduce social and environmental risk factors for cancer. While cancer is no longer taboo in the United States, it’s still a stigma in many countries. Negative public perceptions slow efforts to encourage healthy lifestyle choices. The risk of at least one-third of the most common cancers may be reduced by eating a healthy diet, drinking alcohol in moderation and being physically active. Eliminate smoking and the risk of about half of the most common cancers, which include breast and lung cancers, may be significantly reduced.

Learn how common resolutions may cut cancer risk.

Early detection

Several cancers—including breast, cervical, colorectal and skin cancers—can be found at an early stage when more treatment options are likely to be available.

Learn who should be screened and for what cancer types.

Treatment for all

Ensuring that everyone who’s diagnosed with cancer receives proper treatments is a tremendous challenge, especially considering the disparities in financial resources among countries. There are three ways to address this challenge, according to the UICC:

  • Strengthen health systems that deliver cancer prevention and care services
  • Improve access to essential cancer medicines and technologies
  • Reduce the financial toll of cancer on individuals, families and economies

Learn more about cancer treatments.

Quality of life

For patients and caregivers, cancer can have a significant impact on your emotional, physical and mental health. It’s critical to understand and respond to how cancer impacts you so you can maintain a good quality of life.

Learn more about how to manage quality of life during cancer treatment.