World Cancer Day

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

History of World Cancer Day

The origins of World Cancer Day can be traced all the way back to the Union for International Cancer Control, or UICC, in 1933. This organization, which was created in Geneva, Switzerland, realized there was a need to share knowledge on a global basis. Over the years, it has sought to advance medical knowledge in all areas that relate to cancer. They have also helped to lend support to the development of a wide variety of different cancer institutions and has foster communication between these institutions. Every year they focus on three main areas: the biannual Cancer Congress, World Cancer Leader Summit and World Cancer Day.

The idea for World Cancer Day started at the first World Summit Against Cancer that was held in Paris, France in 2000. During this meeting, representatives from many different worldwide governmental agencies and cancer organizations signed the Charter of Paris Against Cancer Agreement. This charter outlined ten different articles that outline 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 the 4th of February 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 your friends and family and also on social media; by giving money to cancer research programs and by getting involved in many of the events that are 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 form 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 cancer
  • Yellow: Bone Cancer
  • Purple: Bladder cancer
When is it?
This year (2023)
February 4 Saturday
Next year (2024)
February 4 Sunday
Last year (2022)
February 4 Friday
Awareness & Cause, Health & Body