World Cancer Day aims to unite the global cancer community

Release Date

Today Cancer Australia is marking World Cancer Day (4 February), the uniting global initiative under which the world comes together to raise the profile of cancer in a positive and inspiring way, with a video message from chief executive officer, Professor Dorothy Keefe.

Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia, with over 48,000 deaths from cancer estimated in 2020. Around the world about 19 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2020, which is nearly 53,000 people every day.

Spearheaded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), the day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and improving education about the disease.

“We support World Cancer Day and the extraordinary spirit and the strength of the people working in the cancer community around the world to improve outcomes for all people affected by cancer.”

For World Cancer Day 2021, Cancer Australia is shining a spotlight on the World Health Organization’s Global Strategy to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in females globally and the third most commonly diagnosed gynaecological cancer in Australian women.

IUCC invited 30 leaders from around the world – political, community, and business leaders - to respond to questions from children about cervical cancer elimination. Professor Dorothy Keefe, CEO of Cancer Australia was among them.

Cervical cancer is one of the most highly preventable and curable forms of cancer and is currently on track to being eliminated globally.

“Considerable challenges remain in cancer control cancer worldwide. One of Cancer Australia’s key areas of focus continues to be working to address areas of considerable difference in cancer outcomes in Australia including for our Indigenous Australians, people in rural and remote areas and vulnerable population groups,” said Professor Dorothy Keefe, CEO Cancer Australia.

“To achieve true elimination of cervical cancer, we must ensure that efforts are focused on addressing the burden of this disease on our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities”.

Joining worldwide efforts to improve cancer outcomes during the pandemic, Cancer Australia developed a conceptual framework for optimal management of cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The principles of Cancer care in the Time of COVID-19 can be applied to any jurisdiction around the world.

The Cancer won’t wait campaign released by Cancer Australia in 2020, encourages people of all ages to see their health professional with any new or persistent symptoms that could be cancer has now been translated into 10 languages.

Cancer Australia has created a dedicated COVID-19 hub for advice and information for Australians affected by cancer. It contains a repository of up-to-date, evidence-based resources and guidance for people affected by cancer, health professionals and researchers from Australia and International organisations in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.