World Cancer Day is organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and celebrated annually on February 4 since 2000. This year’s global observance marks the 20th World Cancer Day and raises awareness for cancer and for its prevention, detection, and treatment.
In 2018, an estimated 18.1 million new cancer cases and 9.6 million cancer deaths occurred globally (1), and according to the National Central Cancer Registry of China, about 4.28 million new cancer cases and 2.86 million cancer deaths occurred in China, which accounted for about 23.7% and 30.0% of the global cancer incidence and deaths, respectively. Cancer has become a leading cause of death in China over the past 40 years and contributes an increasing burden of cancer due to population aging. Furthermore, factors such as increasing prevalence of physical inactivity and obesity, decreasing prevalence of infection-related disease, high prevalence of smoking in males, and air pollution may contribute to the changing profile of the cancer burden in China (2). Though serious challenges remain, significant progress has been made in cancer prevention and control in China as the highest cancer-specific mortality rates (stomach, esophageal, and liver) decreased over a recent 15-year period (3).
World Cancer Day’s 2019–2021 campaign theme is “I Am and I Will” and calls for personal commitment and prompt action to reduce the growing burden of cancer. This theme emphasizes personal responsibility, making healthier lifestyle choices, supporting cancer patients and survivors, and fighting for a cancer-free world.