National Cancer Prevention Month & World Cancer Day

Summary: National Cancer Prevention Month was designed to have an entire month dedicated to educating the public and people on our globe about the many types of cancer. By educating and empowering the world with knowledge, many world health specialists believe that this focus and education driven month could help to lower the cancer cases each year. World Cancer Day falls on February 4th and marks the day where those who have fought cancer or currently fighting to share their stories aloud with the world, again, shining more light on such an important life-altering condition. To find out what groups or events are happening in your area dealing with National Cancer Prevention Month or World Cancer day, contact your local cancer services office or check in with your medical care team.

Globally every year there are approximately 12.7 million cancer cases being diagnosed, treated, and dealt with. By the year 2030, the American Cancer Society predicts that number to rise to over twenty-six million cases. The United States has the seventh highest overall cancer rate in the world, according to studies done by the World Health Organization. This is why February has been named as National Cancer Prevention Month, and this year, world cancer day is February 4th!

As part of the efforts to raise awareness about many types of cancer, during this month the American Institute of Cancer Research, or AICR, focuses on the one-third of cancer cases that have cancers that can be preventable. The AICR highlights specific cancer facts and offers up a lot of information about a myriad of different cancers, and how they can be prevented. This information comes from health care professionals, cancer patients, nursing staff, medical companies and consumers; providing a wide variety of resources.

By encouraging all humans to learn and empower themselves with information about cancer and how it develops, the WHO is hopeful that in the future, the cancer statistics and new diagnosis rates will be much lower than they are today. Here are the latest global cancer facts from the World Health Organization.

Global Cancer Facts & Statistics

These are the facts and statistics on cancer from the World Health Organization.

-Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide.

-The International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that one in five men and one in six women worldwide will develop cancer over the course of their lifetime; and that one in eight men and one in eleven women will die from their disease. This equates to around 9.6 million people dying from cancer in 2018. This number is expected to rise in 2019.

-If we invested 11.4 billion dollars in United States currency into prevention strategies, we would save an overwhelming 100 billion dollars in avoided cancer treatment costs.

-Approximately seventy-percent of all cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. These countries are least well placed to deliver the services needed by cancer patients or manage the social or economic consequences of this burden.

-At least one-third of common cancers are preventable. Genetic mutations play a role in five to ten percent of cancers. Approximately twenty-seven percent of cancers relate to tobacco and alcohol use.

-The total economic cost of cancer is 1.16 trillion dollars. This translates into a loss of productivity and household income, reduction of quality of life, disability, and ultimately premature death.

-Up to 3.7 million lives could be saved each year by implementing resource appropriate strategies for prevention, early detection, and treatment.

Cancer Prevention Tips from the World Health Organization

The American Institute of Cancer Research lays out the basic prevention tips for not only lowering your risk of developing certain types of cancers, but also how some can flat out be prevented. Here are some of those suggestions:

– Limit consumption of salty foods and foods processed with high levels of sodium.
– Do not use dietary supplements to protect against cancer. Supplements can be used to help boost the body’s minerals and nutrients but should never be used as a substitute for a healthy diet with nutrient-filled foods.
– It is best for mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to six months before introducing other liquids and foods. Beginning foods and other liquids like fruit juice can cause food issues and allergies later in life when started too soon, or before the gastrointestinal tract can handle the increase of digestion.
– After treatment, cancer survivors should follow recommendations for cancer prevention given by their medical care team. This might mean diet, nutrition, physical activity, weight maintenance, and psychological therapy.

– Be as lean as possible without becoming underweight, while maintaining body mass and muscle tone.
– Aim to build more activity, like brisk walking, chair exercising, or in place aerobics, into your daily routine to get your heart working.
– Avoid sugary drinks and food, while limiting consumption of energy dense foods like those with a high ratio of calories to volume eaten.
– Eat more of a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes or follow the clean and whole foods diet.
– Limit red meat consumption avoid processed meats altogether.
– Limit alcoholic drinks to 2 drinks for men and 1 drink for women per week.

Global Cancer Issues from the American Institute of Cancer Research

There are certain aspects of dealing with and living with cancer that people should be aware of. There is much more than simply taking medications and keeping up with your doctors’ appointments that are important when fighting against cancer.

Awareness, understanding, myths and misinformation. Increased awareness and accurate information and knowledge can empower all of us to recognize early warning signs. Recognizing these signs can help to make informed choices about our health and counter our own fears and misconceptions about cancer.

Prevention and risk reduction. At least one-third of cancers are preventable, which gives us every reason to champion healthy choices and prevention strategies for all, so that we have the best chance to reduce or prevent our cancer risks for all humans.

Equity in access to cancer services. Life-saving cancer diagnosis and treatment should be equal for all no matter who you are, your level of education, level of income or where you live in the world. By closing the equity gap, we can save millions of lives and bring the treatment plans for cancer all in to one broad book.

Government action and accountability. Proactive and effective actions on national health planning are possible and feasible in every country, and when governments step up efforts to reduce and prevent cancer, they place their nations in a stronger position to advance socially and economically overall.

-Beyond the physical, mental, and emotional impact. Quality cancer care includes dignity, respect, support, love, and considers not just the physical impact of cancer but respects the emotional, sexual and social well being of each individual and their career and life path.

Financial and economic impact. There is a compelling financial argument for committing resources to cancer control. Financial investment can be cost effective and can potentially save the global economy billions of dollars in cancer treatment costs and offer positive gains in increased survival, productivity and improved quality of life.

Reducing the skills gap and increasing quality healthcare workers. Skilled and knowledgeable healthcare workers are one of the most powerful ways we can deliver quality cancer care. Addressing the current skills gap and shortage of healthcare professionals is the clearest way to achieve progress in reducing the number of premature deaths from cancer.

Working together as a functioning unit. Strategic collaborations that involve civil society, business, cities, research and academic institutions, and international organizations offer the strongest ways to help expand awareness and support, convert political will into action, and deliver comprehensive solutions. Joining efforts leads to powerful action at every level.

For more information about National Cancer Prevention Month or World Cancer Day, contact your local cancer services office or health department to find local support groups and events that you might be interested in.

Resources Used:


World Health Organization

Reclaiming Intimacy

Back to blog