Thoughts on World Cancer Day

WCDToday is World Cancer Day (, which I have to be honest, I don’t know if I really get. While I love the idea of dispelling the myths around the disease, I don’t know if we need a special day to do that. Maybe if on this day everyone that has been diagnosed with cancer was given the day off from work – now that would be interesting and worth celebrating.

Many different groups hope that this day will be a day to call attention to the disease itself – but I would be surprised if there was an adult on this planet that has not heard of cancer – awareness of the disease is not going to stop people from dying.

I think that on World Cancer Day two things should happen – the media should dedicate their coverage to advances in science to beating the disease and there should be a world-wide competition to finding a cure.  Oh … And all survivors should take the day off from work.

As a person who has heard the words “you have cancer” – I don’t need a special day to remind me – I remember every day while I battle side effects of treatment and support friends and family who are also survivors.

What about all of those people in the world that have cancer and don’t have access to modern pain medicine and treatment? What about those small organizations that are struggling to serve underserved populations that have been forgotten all over the world? What about all the children that have to face the disease before they have even learned to walk?

World Cancer Day was created as a worldwide effort to dispel the myths about cancer but without the active involvement of every person on the planet to stand up and demand equal and fair care and more importantly a cure – I am not sure what a single day will accomplish.

You want to dispel a myth??? When you are diagnosed with cancer – it is not a death sentence. Every single person on this planet will die some day – and for those of us who have heard the world cancer by our doctor – all that makes us different is that the illusion of immortality is no longer distracting us.

I say on World Cancer Day you hug a survivor and take a pledge to enjoy the day we have all been given to live. Oh … and give all survivors the day off work!

Comments (4)

4 Responses to Thoughts on World Cancer Day

  1. You’ve got my vote for giving survivors a day off work! Them and their families & friends who supported them through. I think your idea for media coverage that targets curing cancer is also a very good idea. ~Catherine

  2. Anna says:

    While it is true that World Cancer Day’s focus this year is about dispelling myths, there is a much grander agenda. In fact, one of the myths they are focusing to dispel is the very one you mention: cancer is NOT a death sentence!
    The ultimate goal is to do many of things you named as important in your blog. And unfortunately there are still people, especially those in countries who will not have access to treatment and care, that are not aware of all cancers. In many countries cancer is still a taboo subject (hence, the focus on myths this year).
    Luckily, YSC is one of the organizations that is helping to change all of that!

  3. anne rossetti says:

    “world cancer day” does make me reflect on how attitudes about cancer have evolved. I am old enough to remember when Betty Ford announced that she had breast cancer. At that time for anyone to publicly announce a cancer diagnosis was shocking, and even more shocking that a First Lady would use the term “breast” in public. When my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1970, we were told she had cancer in her “female organs”. I also remember that when a cancer diagnosis was given the first question anyone asked was “how much time do I (or my loved one) have?” While “world cancer day” does not have a real targeted purpose, it gives us hope that attitudes will continue to evolve.

  4. I think giving cancer survivors the day off from work would be a really great thing to do. I was very excited about what the UICC was working to do during World Cancer Day this year. I think that the common misconceptions surrounding cancer can be damaging to the public. Only by educating the community and raising awareness through events like WCD 2013 can we make a real difference. Thanks for sharing the really great post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *