World Cancer Day

 
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Knowledge Basic Info

Knowledge Author
Kara Rogers
Author Description
Kara Rogers is the senior editor of biomedical sciences at Encyclopædia Britannica, where she oversees a range of content from medicine and genetics to microorganisms. She joined Britannica in 2006 and...
Reference
https://www.britannica.com/topic/World-Cancer-Day

Days of thanksgiving in Canada also originated in the colonial period, arising from the same European traditions, in gratitude for safe journeys, peace, and bountiful harvests. The earliest celebration was held in 1578, when an expedition led by Martin Frobisher held a ceremony in present-day Nunavut to give thanks for the safety of its fleet. In 1879 Parliament established a national Thanksgiving Day on November 6; the date has varied over the years. Since 1957 Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated in Canada on the second Monday in October.

Cancer awareness has become exceedingly important in the 21st century. While there have been numerous advancements in the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer—factors that should contribute to the decline of the disease—the number of new cancer cases diagnosed each year has globally continued to increase. There were 8.1 million new cases diagnosed in 1990, 10 million in 2000, 12.4 million in 2008, and 14.1 million in 2012. The number of annual deaths worldwide from cancer has also increased—from 5.2 million people in 1990 to 8.2 million people in 2012 to an estimated 9.6 million in 2018. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if the incidence of cancer continues to grow at the reported rate, the number of deaths worldwide from cancer will increase to more than 16.3 million by 2040. However, also according to WHO, as many as 40 percent of deaths from cancer are preventable. As a result, raising awareness of cancer prevention has become a prominent goal of many cancer and health organizations around the world, and World Cancer Day has come to represent an annual reaffirmation of the importance of this goal.

The International Union Against Cancer (UICC), an organization dedicated to increasing global cancer awareness, coordinates World Cancer Day and is supported in this effort by WHO and other international organizations. World Cancer Day serves as a formal launching point for the declaration of new themes and the release of new publications for the UICC’s World Cancer Campaign, which functions throughout the year and strives to raise cancer awareness by forming partnerships with health and cancer institutions and by proposing educational activities and creating public service announcements. In honour of World Cancer Day, many health institutions and cancer centres make available on their Web sites various educational publications and materials about cancer and cancer prevention. In some places World Cancer Day is recognized with a parade or a local fund-raising event, such as a walk, a gala, a concert, or an auction. In addition, some countries air special television broadcasts or radio programs about cancer during the week in which World Cancer Day occurs.

Because more than 70 percent of deaths from cancer occur in economically less-developed countries, World Cancer Day and the World Cancer Campaign have become important mechanisms for drawing attention to cancer prevention and treatment in these countries. For example, in Nicaragua, where access to cancer treatment centres was severely limited, World Cancer Day 2007 marked the beginning of an international collaboration designed to improve cancer-care resources within the country.

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