World Cancer Day is February 4, 2018: ‘We can. I can.’

By Liz Meszaros, MDLinx
Published February 1, 2018

Key Takeaways

February 4, is World Cancer Day, and this year’s emphasis will be on the role of physical activity in the fight against cancer, under the catch phrase, “We can. I can.”

By 2030, cases of cancer are predicted to reach 21.7 million annually worldwide.

A growing number of studies have shown that physical activity may reduce the risk of the recurrence or worsening of cancer. In addition, physical activity is known to have a significant role in helping cancer patients manage the side effects of treatment, including fatigue, depression, and heart damage. In fact, a recent study1 has shown that in patients with breast cancer, physical activity can reduce the risk of recurrence and mortality by a full 40%.

World Cancer Day is an international day that aims to raise global awareness of cancer and encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. This health observance day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), and is geared toward raising awareness of cancer, as well as reducing the tolls of illness and death and the stigma that may sometimes be associated with cancer.

“This World Cancer Day, we want to inspire individuals to play an active role in the fight against cancer by being physically active. Around a third of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity and leading a less sedentary lifestyle. A large number of people also find exercise to be of great benefit to their well-being either during or after treatment. The ‘We can. I can.’ campaign is in its second year, and we hope to build on the success of last year and spread the message further than ever,” said Cary Adams, CEO, UICC.

Professor Sanchia Aranda, UICC President, said, “Anyone can get involved in sport, so it’s a great fit for World Cancer Day. Regular exercise is one of the most simple and fun ways that people worldwide can reduce their cancer risk. The messages around sport also link back to our cancer messages about the importance of healthy eating, supporting one another to achieve common goals, and working together.”

On World Cancer Day, everyone is encouraged to do their part in maintaining their own health and well-being by being active, limiting alcohol consumption, avoiding tobacco, and abstaining from excessive consumption of red and processed meats.

On this day, worldwide, local, and global associations are coming together, including the French Tennis Federation and World Wrestling Entertainment. For more information about World Cancer Day, visit For more information about specific events, go to

Everyone is encouraged to “add to the noise” of World Cancer Day, with tweets, posts, and shares on the world’s social media.


  1. Macmillan Cancer Support (2011). The importance of physical activity for people living with and beyond cancer: A concise evidence review. Available at: Accessed December 1, 2017.
Share with emailShare to FacebookShare to LinkedInShare to Twitter