World Cancer Day

Celebrated on February 4th all over the world, World Cancer Day is a day created to raise awareness about cancer and to encourage people to prevent and detect it, as well as to continue searching for new treatments. However, its main goal is to significantly reduce the instances of illness and death caused by cancer by the year 2020.

History of World Cancer Day

The origins of World Cancer Day can be traced back to the Union for International Cancer Control, or UICC, in 1933. This organization, which was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, realized there was a need to share knowledge on a global scale. Over the years, it has sought to advance medical knowledge in all areas related to cancer. It has also helped to support the development of a wide variety of cancer institutions and fostered communication between these institutions. Every year they focus on three main areas: the biannual Cancer Congress, World Cancer Leaders’ Summit, and World Cancer Day.

The idea for World Cancer Day originated at the first World Summit Against Cancer, held in Paris, France, in 2000. During this meeting, representatives from various worldwide governmental agencies and cancer organizations signed the Charter of Paris Against Cancer Agreement. This charter outlined ten articles that demonstrate how the global community is committed to improving the quality of life of cancer patients and seeking an end to cancer itself. The tenth article of this charter established February 4th as World Cancer Day.

World Cancer Day Customs & Traditions

World Cancer Day is primarily celebrated by health organizations, governmental agencies, and cancer awareness groups, which organize camps, awareness programs, seminars, and lectures all over the world. Ordinary people can get involved by spreading the news about World Cancer Day to their friends and family and also on social media; by donating money to cancer research programs and by participating in many of the events held on this day.

People can also acknowledge this day by wearing one of the cancer awareness ribbons. A multi-colored ribbon or lavender ribbon can be worn to acknowledge all cancers, or a specific color ribbon for a specific type of cancer can be worn. Different color ribbons represent different types of cancer, as shown by the chart below.

Cancer Awareness Ribbons

  • Multi-colored: All cancers
  • Lavender: All cancers
  • Pink: Breast cancer
  • Amber: Appendix cancer
  • Grey: Brain cancer
  • Gold: Childhood cancer
  • Dark Blue: Colon cancer
  • Orange: Kidney cancer/Leukemia
  • Purple: Pancreatic cancer
  • Teal: Ovarian cancer
  • Light Blue: Prostate cancer
  • White: Lung cancer/Cervical cancer
  • Violet: Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Emerald: Liver cancer
  • Black: Melanoma
  • Yellow: Bone cancer
  • Purple: Bladder cancer
When is it?
This year (2024)
February 4 Sunday
Next year (2025)
February 4 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
February 4 Saturday
Awareness & Cause, Health & Body