The 4th of February is marked each year by World Cancer Day. On this day, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) aims to raise awareness, improve education and catalyse personal, collective and government action on all kinds of cancers.
Since it was founded in 2000, UICC have grown the day into a positive, equal opportunity movement for everyone to unite, work together and reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are avoided and life-saving treatment and access to quality care is achievable for everyone. This year, their theme is "I Am and I Will," focussed on individual and personal commitments to take action on cancer awareness and prevention.
Unfortunately, most will experience cancer one way or another in life, whether that be personally or in someone you love. Cancer affects people of all ages, genders and ethnicities, and this day is an ample opportunity to think on how individuals can work together to collectively eradicate this devastating disease.
Losing someone from cancer gives a whole new perspective on the disease, and it can be hard to revisit those experiences on days like today. Often, days like this make it difficult not to reflect on how the person was during their sickness alone. Instead, use today as an opportunity to remember the life of the person you loved, separate from their illness. It can be helpful to try to revisit the things you used to do together. From golfing, to playing musical instruments together, to simply having a cup of tea, take this opportunity to do something they would have loved in honour of them today.
Many people who have been taken too soon by cancer lived happy, fulfilling lives, even during their fight. On World Cancer Day, try to think on how you can continue to improve the lives of people living with cancer, or prevent cancer from marking the lives of people into the future at an individual level. From donating, volunteering or fundraising for organisations like Camp Quality, Canteen, the Australian Cancer Research Foundation or the Cancer Council, to taking steps to protect yourself and your family by practicing sun safety or quitting smoking, there are so many ways to take action on World Cancer Day.
To find more information on the Union for International Cancer Control's initiative and learn how you can get involved, visit www.worldcancerday.org
By Claudia Slack