Making a Difference on World Cancer Day

Everyone knows what pink ribbons stand for. Wearing sunscreen, giving up cigarettes and having a colonoscopy at 50 are all well-known practices to help prevent and detect cancer. However, the National Cancer Institute reports that there are more than 100 different types of cancer.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a less common type of cancer, you might feel left out. The truth is that all cancers need and deserve recognition. This is why World Cancer Day is so important.

What Is World Cancer Day?

On February 4, 2000, leaders of government agencies and cancer organizations from around the globe came together in Paris for the first World Summit against Cancer. Together, they signed the Charter of Paris Against Cancer, which is a global commitment to the continued advancement of cancer research, prevention and treatment as well as the improvement of the quality of life for cancer patients everywhere.

Since then, February 4 is observed as World Cancer Day. The aim of this campaign is to raise awareness and increase education about all forms of the disease by compelling individuals and governments to take action.

The good news is that everyone can do something. Even seemingly small actions can make a big difference. As Vincent van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

From the stay-at-home mom posting status updates in between loads of laundry to the elementary school ordering wristbands for the entire student body to wear to the corporation making a sizable donation to a research organization, every action has a ripple effect. Learn some simple yet significant ways that you can make waves on World Cancer Day.

Dress for the Occasion

Put on a t-shirt, wristband, temporary tattoo or other adornment that spreads awareness. You can choose a message or symbol that corresponds with a specific type of cancer or opt for a general slogan that shows support and encourages a response.

Get Social

Use your favorite social media platforms to promote education and awareness. Download signs from the World Cancer Day website and post pics of them on your pages. Use the hashtags #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan on your pictures and posts. You can even create a fundraiser on Facebook by clicking Fundraiser under Create at the bottom of the left pane and selecting a cancer-related non-profit agency for which to raise money.

Find an Event

Take part in a walk, run or another event. If you are unable to participate, sponsor someone who can. Can’t find an event in your area? Assemble a group of like-minded people and organize your own.

Contact Congress

Ask the government to increase funding for cancer research. Write letters, make phone calls, send emails or post social media messages to your state representatives. Encourage others to do the same.

Start a Conversation

Educate others in your community about cancer. This could be speaking to a group in a public place, telling a neighbor about the symptoms you experienced before your diagnosis or urging a close relative to talk to a health care provider about your family history of cancer.

Add Your Activity to the Map of Impact

Want a visual of how your actions combined with others’ are making ripples and waves? Go to the World Cancer Day website and add your activity to their Map of Impact. You can discover how others near you and around the globe are fostering awareness, education and the message that all cancers need and deserve recognition. And always remember that no one fights alone!


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