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Home / World Cancer Day - Facts and Statistics

World Cancer Day - Facts and Statistics

February 4th every year marks World Cancer Day. Founded in 2000, this world health day is adopted by many cancer charities to raise awareness, money and research incentives to help prevent the amount of cancer-related deaths experienced year after year. We have more about World Cancer Day below, including our widget detailing which cancer screenings you need and when.

What is World Cancer Day?

World Cancer Day is held on the February 4th every year to raise awareness and money for cancer research. Rather than focusing on certain types of cancers (although specific charities also do this), World Cancer Day aims to highlight the disease in general.

The aim of World Cancer Day is to help save millions of preventable deaths through educating individuals and raising awareness. Cancer is not only a physical illness, but it can halt your life and deeply affect your emotional wellbeing. Other charities also offer this emotional support.

You can donate to a particular cancer charity that is close to your heart, or for cancer research based charities that work at combating over 200 types of cancer.

When was it founded?

World Cancer Day is a fairly recent global health day having been founded in 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium, held in Paris. The initial aim (which still stands) is promoting research facilities, researching new cures and raising money and awareness.

It is registered by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).

Why have a World Cancer Day?

Cancer is the biggest killer in the world, and it will affect nearly everyone at some point whether this is personally or through a loved one.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 in 6 deaths globally is related to a form of cancer. 30-50% of these were preventable with the biggest of these causes being smoking. In fact, smoking is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world.

Over the last 40 years, survival rates of cancer have doubled. This is amazing progress, but we can still improve…

What screenings do I need to get?

Early diagnosis of cancer is very important in combating the illness. If a cancer diagnosis is too late, this makes it much more difficult to treat successfully. Depending on your age, gender and family medical history, you will be offered to screen for multiple cancers on the NHS.

With this in mind, here you can check what screenings you need to get at which age. Simply drag the slider to your age to reveal which cancers you can request a screening for:

What cancer symptoms do I need to look out for?

Any unexplained changes of an extreme nature to your body should be reviewed by your doctor, especially if a previous diagnosis of another condition has not been improved.

Cancer Symptoms
Sudden appearance of a lump (across your whole body).
Moles (irregular or asymmetrical, irregular borders with jagged edges, different colours, bigger than 7mm, itching, crusting or bleeding).
Unusual bleeding (blood in your urine, bleeding between periods, bleeding from the anus, blood when you cough or blood in your vomit).
Change to your bowel habits (blood in stools, diarrhoea, constipation for no obvious reason, pain in the stomach, persistent bloating, pain in the anus).
If you've had a cough for more than 3 weeks.
Severe (acute) shortness of breath/chest pain.
Severe conditions such as pneumonia.
Severe (acute) pain anywhere over the body.
Severe (acute) pain anywhere over the body.
Unexplained weight loss over the past few months that cannot be linked to diet, exercise or stress.

These symptoms may also be something completely harmless, but if you are at all unsure, air on the side of caution and book a GP appointment. If you have cancer, you'll be referred to a specialist within the first 2 weeks to begin treatment.

If you've had cancer in the past, you will likely be given periodic check-ups to ensure that cancer hasn't returned.

To book a cancer screening, contact your doctor. If you're displaying any symptoms linked to any type of cancer it's important to get checked.

What can I do?

There are a number of ways you can reduce your chances of experiencing cancer, and ways to raise money as well.

Reducing your chances of getting cancer

Sometimes it is sadly unavoidable, especially if there is a family history of being diagnosed. However, it is possible to reduce the chances of getting certain forms of cancer:

  • Don't smoke (including e-cigarettes)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Having a healthy diet
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Protecting yourself from the sun
  • Be aware of the early signs of cancer
  • Avoiding triggers such as high pollution

Raising money and awareness

You can raise money in a whole manner of ways. This year (2018), Cancer Research UK has created Unity Bands in a range of colours. They cost just £2 and these funds go towards life-saving cancer research. Other charities also offer bands and novelty gifts to help raise money.

  • Make an online donation to a site of your choice
  • Volunteer for a cancer charity (check particular sites for openings)
  • Be brave and cut off your hair to be made into a wig
  • Offer support - Spend your time and energy with those going through cancer

There are other ways you can raise additional money and there are no limits to your imagination. Cake sales are a popular choice as they are fun to do and simple to arrange. Sending an email to your work and setting up a stall can raise plenty of cash, and curb your colleagues' mid-morning hunger.

Cancer is one of the hardest things anyone can go through, by donating or offering your services, you can make someone's experience significantly better. It's also important to keep up-to-date with your screenings and be aware of the early symptoms of many cancers.

Last Updated: 26.02.2018