World Cancer Day, organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and celebrated each year on 4 February, is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.
The theme of World Cancer Day 2017 is “We can, I can” and highlights the need for multisectoral participation. WHO has provided guidance on how to address the cancer burden through comprehensive cancer control, founded on global coordination and strong health systems. The Organization has helped lead engagement of partner UN agencies and entities, such as the UN Joint Global Programme on Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control. Collaboration is critical to produce a stronger response against this disease that needlessly claims the lives of millions around the world each year.
New WHO figures released this week indicate that cancer deaths continue to increase. In 2015, 8.8 million people died from cancer, mostly in low- and middle-income countries. Globally, common challenges to cancer control are delays in cancer diagnosis and inaccessible treatment. Even in countries with strong health systems and services, many cancer cases are diagnosed at a late-stage, when they are harder to treat successfully.
In anticipation of World Cancer Day, WHO has developed a Guide to Cancer Early Diagnosis, to help effectively address barriers to early cancer diagnosis. The guide aims to help policy-makers, programme managers and cancer advocates develop or strengthen programmes that improve early diagnosis and access to treatment. The consequences are more people surviving cancer, less morbidity and lower costs from treatment.
On World Cancer Day, WHO acknowledges the role of all stakeholders to strengthen coordination and health systems in cancer control, working toward a future of healthy lives for all.