4th February – World Cancer Day

World Cancer Day is an international day marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection and treatment. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008.

World Cancer Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.

Globally, cancer now kills about 8 million people every year, according to the World Health Organisation.

What is Cancer?


Cancer starts when cells change abnormally
cancer cells growing diagram

Cancer is when abnormal cells divide in an uncontrolled way. Some cancers may eventually spread into other tissues.

There are more than 200 different types of cancer.

1 in 2 people in will get cancer in their lifetime.

Thanks to research many people are cured.

Cancer grows as cells multiply over and over

cancer cells growing through normal tissue diagram

Cancer starts when gene changes make one cell or a few cells begin to grow and multiply too much. This may cause a growth called a tumour.

ALSO READ: How to prevent cancer?

Some cancers can spread to other parts of the body

Where cancer can spread diagram

A primary tumour is the name for where a cancer starts.

Cancer can sometimes spread to other parts of the body – this is called a secondary tumour or a metastasis.

Cancer and its treatments can affect body systems, such as the blood circulation, lymphatic and immune systems, and the hormone system.

Is cancer genetic?

Genes and cancer
Most cancers start due to gene changes that happen over a person’s lifetime.

More rarely cancers start due to inherited faulty genes passed down in families.