World Cancer Day: “We Can. I Can.” Make a Difference in the Burden of Cancer


As nurses, we are all very aware of the devastating effects of cancer on patients, their families, and friends, as well as on communities. What better motivation towards adding our voices to spreading the message of “We can. I can” make a difference in the burden of cancer, on World Cancer Day (WCD) on February 4?

The message for WCD is that each one of us, as individuals or in groups, can take some action in the fight against cancer – raising awareness of what can be done by individuals, groups, communities, and policymakers to reduce the impact of the disease. In its Campaign Toolkit for World Cancer Day, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) shows that this can be done on many levels – from prevention; improving early diagnosis; access to effective treatment for all; challenging myths and misconceptions; to increased love and support for patients and families affected by cancer.

As you know, cancer knows no boundaries – it can affect everyone irrespective of age, gender, race, or of socio-economic standing. Cancer is a leading cause of death, and the global epidemic is predicted to rise from 14.1 million cases in 2012 to around 19.3 million cases by 2025. Worldwide, cancer causes 8.8 million deaths annually, and this is set to increase to 14 million in the next ten years – and about half of these people are still in their productive years, aged between 30 and 69 years of age. However, it is also estimated that more than one-third of these deaths can be prevented through lifestyle changes as well as early diagnosis and access to effective treatment.

Childhood Cancer Warning Signs. One of the many resources from the website you can share.

The purpose of WCD is to raise awareness of the on-going fight against cancer, uniting the world under the single theme of “We can, I can – inspire and take action.” If you are not participating in any WCD event and you have other plans for Sunday, February 4, you can still contribute by giving a few minutes of your time to post a message on social media. The following are a few ideas from the WCD Campaign Toolkit.

Choose a message that resonates with you, a statement you want to share with policymakers or share a message in honor of a loved one with cancer. Using the official hashtags #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan will also add your message to the UICC Wall of Support which will feature every WCD-related picture posted on social media.


Facebook “Signs for change.”

Choose a sign from the key messages made available by UICC or download the Signs for Change selfie card and add your own message. Take a photo of yourself holding the sign and post it on Facebook and add the hashtags #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan.

Twitter messages

The Campaign Toolkit has many readymade Twitter messages under the headings “We can” and “I can” from which you can choose, for example:

  • #WeCanICan prevent #cancer by educating individuals & communities about the links between lifestyle and #RiskFactors. #WorldCancerDay
  • #WeCanICan advocate for govts to create healthy cities & prioritise #CancerControl at a local level: #WorldCancerDay
  • #WeCanICan advocate for improved access to #CancerTreatment & services across the care continuum: #WorldCancerDay
  • #WeCanICan understand that #EarlyDetection and timely #CancerTreatment are crucial to increase #cancer survival rates. #WorldCancerDay
  • #CancerPatients must be empowered to have a greater control on their #cancer journey: #WorldCancerDay #WeCanICan
  • With the right support, people living with #cancer can return to work successfully: #WorldCancerDay #WeCanICan

You can also create your own message – but remember to add the hashtags!


Instagram is the ideal place to show the human side of the campaign. Post photos of any WCD events you might be participating in, honor loved ones lost to cancer, or feature individuals and organizations that are making a difference. You can follow WCD @WorldCancerDay and remember to tag them in your posts.

EVERY ACTION COUNTS – millions of small actions across the world will add up to a huge impact. Also, share your photos and messages in the comments section of this article on Facebook to show what this group of nurses can achieve.


Frieda Paton is a registered nurse with a Master’s degree in nursing education. Her passion for nursing education, nursing issues and advocacy for the profession were ignited while she worked as an education officer, and later editor, at a national nurses’ association. This passion, together with interest in health and wellness education since her student days, stayed with her throughout her further career as a nurse educator and occupational health nurse. Having reached retirement age, she continues to contribute to the profession as a full-time freelance writer. In the news and feature articles she writes for Nurseslabs, she hopes to inspire nursing students and nurses on the job to reflect on the trends and issues that affect their profession and communities - and play their part in advocacy wherever they find themselves.