Over 18 million new cases of cancer and nearly 10 million deaths resulting from cancer are estimated to have occurred in 2018. Underlying these statistics, access to cancer care is not equal for all: survival chances are poorer in low- and middle-income countries and patients facing economic or social inequalities also suffer inequities in access to cancer services. Addressing these issues is a priority for the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), an organisation representing cancer societies, ministries of health, and patient groups in over 160 countries. UICC leads World Cancer Day which takes place on 4 February each year. 2019 sees the launch of the ‘I Am and I Will’ theme for the next three years, encouraging everyone to make a personal commitment to get involved in the fight against cancer.
A key message of the campaign is that improving public awareness and access to early detection, screening and diagnosis of cancer can save lives, as well as facilitating less complex and more cost-effective treatment. Hundreds of activities have been taking place across the globe to mark the occasion:
- A blog post from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) emphasised that improved public health measures, screening, and treatments are already having positive impacts on cancer incidence and outcomes. ASCO will continue to rise to the challenge of meeting global cancer care needs through education and research.
- The European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) highlighted the continued need for multidisciplinary collaboration – one of five urgent issues ESMO is working to address.
- The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) announced national endorsements for guidelines to improve cancer care in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- From a policy perspective, the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Against Cancer (MAC) interest group launched a manifesto towards effective cancer control in Europe.
- Among healthcare professionals, the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care (ISNCC) marked the day by profiling cancer nurses worldwide.
- Publishers have been getting involved too, with Elsevier making a special collection of articles reporting the latest oncology research free to access throughout February. A selection of free articles published in Oxford University Press journals is also available, focused on cancer prevention and risk factors, and relevant ebooks are available free-of-charge from Institute of Physics Publishing until 10 February.
There are many ways that you can get involved this World Cancer Day and beyond. Find out more here and join the conversation online using #WorldCancerDay and #IAmAndIWill.