Make a difference on World Cancer Day

More than 20 million people worldwide will face a cancer diagnosis this year. Today is World Cancer Day, providing an opportunity to raise awareness of the need to make fighting cancer a priority. Keep reading for how you can make a difference on World Cancer Day.

World Cancer Day is held annually to bring people together to work towards ending cancer. The theme for 2024 is “Close the Care Gap” to promote health equity. This important theme recognizes that every person has the ability to make a difference in fighting cancer. Each of us can use our voice to push for positive change in access to care, research outcomes, reducing disparities and helping those impacted by the disease.

The power of coming together to fight cancer

If the 20+ million estimated cancer diagnoses didn’t make your eyes widen in disbelief (sadness), then learning that the World Health Organization predicts over 10 million people are expected to die globally in 2024 probably will. For those of us impacted by this disease, we fully know that cancer needs to be stopped. People need support and help in managing their health. More resources are needed to prevent and detect cancer earlier.

The good news is that there are many things we can do to help fight this disease!

I share a lot about the advocacy work that I participate in throughout posts on this blog. I’ve been a passionate cancer advocate since I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at 21 years old. There weren’t many resources or support for young adult cancer survivors back then (the gap is closing but still unfortunately there).

However, it was honestly my dad’s diagnosis and eventual death from cancer that really made me become passionate about legislative and healthcare advocacy. Because I saw the difference that the availability of new treatment options made, which came from research. We had six more years with him – while it will never be enough, and I grieve from missing him daily, I’m grateful for those years and memories.

But you don’t need to be super involved like me to make a difference! Your voice can positively impact change through simple, effective actions. Check out some of those below.

Will you choose to make a difference on World Cancer Day?

4 ways to make a difference on World Cancer Day:

1. Use your voice.

One of the most important ways to fight cancer is making this a priority across the world. In the U.S., that means pushing our legislators to act. Whether you like politics or not, Congress holds the strings on funding for cancer research, access to care, healthcare equality, comprehensive women’s healthcare and more. And YOU have a voice that can make a difference. I beg you to use it. Don’t put your head in the sand because the political parties often act ridiculously. Who you vote for matters [read this blog for tips on how your vote can help fight cancer]. Contact your elected officials to ask them to support funding for cancer research and clinical trials, access to affordable care and preventive screenings, and women’s right to healthcare services.

2. Schedule your cancer screenings.

There’s no doubt that cancer screenings save lives. From catching a change in your health before it becomes cancer to early detection, taking advantage of these screening tests can literally save your life. It certainly saved mine – a screening mammogram discovered very early stage breast cancer five years ago. Consider that more than one third of cancer cases can be prevented and another third can be cured if detected early and treated properly, according to the Union for International Cancer Control. Check out my blog post on five cancer screenings not to miss. Then talk to your doctor about the type of cancer screening you’re due for and get those scheduled!

3. Be a friend to someone facing cancer.
I’m committed to making a difference on World Cancer Day and always. Will you join me?

Facing a cancer diagnosis is an incredibly lonely, scary reality. It’s an endeavor that is often full of unexpected curves in the path, lots of emotions and exhausting side effects. Even the most positive and optimistic person feels emotions of sadness, anxiety, frustration, and more. But knowing that you are supported, that people will show up when needed, can make all the difference in someone’s journey, no matter the outcome. A few quick tips [read more]:

  • Listen and be supportive.
  • Be thoughtful about sharing stories (we know people die from cancer, but we don’t need to reminded all the time with your stories of others).
  • Suggest doing ‘normal’ things like you did before cancer.
  • Continue to support someone after treatment ends. The cancer may be (thankfully) gone, but many of us face side effects, PTSD and more. Keep supporting us.

Want ideas for putting together a cancer care package for someone impacted by cancer? Subscribe to this blog to receive free access to my resource library which offers a list of ways to support someone facing cancer.

4. Donate to a cancer-related nonprofit.

There are many great nonprofit organizations helping people impacted by cancer. Whether you’re looking for support with a specific cancer type, a certain demographic, nutrition, mental health, social activities, or more, there is most likely an organization offering it! It’s also great to see that more and more organizations offer programs for caregivers, children with a parent facing cancer, siblings and other family/friend issues. These charities are able to provide these important services thanks to donations and volunteers. I’ve shared some lists of cancer charities in the past that can help guide you to some I’ve worked with (search ‘charity’ in the box on the side).

Fight cancer today and every day.

These are just a few of the ways that you can fight cancer and make a difference on World Cancer Day.

How has cancer impacted your life? What will you do today to help fight cancer? Feel free to share in the comments!

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