World Cancer Day is Saturday; 4 Million People Worldwide Die Prematurely from the Disease

Modified: February 3, 2017 12:55pm

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From the Office of the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Gale R. Burstein

Date: February 3, 2017                          

CONTACT: Mary C. St. Mary/Mary.StMary@Erie.Gov

Phone: 716.858.4941/ Mobile: 716.253.3925

World Cancer Day is Saturday

4 Million People Worldwide Die Prematurely from the Disease 

ERIE COUNTY, NY— According to the World Health Organization, approximately 8.8 million people die from cancer worldwide every year, including 4 million people who die prematurely (aged 30 to 69 years). Saturday, February 4th, World Cancer Day 2017, unites the world against this disease that knows no borders and represents one of humanity’s most pressing concerns. It aims to save millions of lives each year by raising awareness about the disease and encouraging governments and individuals across the world to take action.


Under the theme – ‘We can. I can.’, World Cancer Day explores how everyone can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer. Just as cancer affects everyone in different ways, all people have the power to take various actions to reduce the impact that cancer has on individuals, families and communities. World Cancer Day is a chance to reflect on what you can do, make a pledge and take action. Whatever you choose to do ‘We can. I can.’ make a difference to the fight against cancer. 

We can:

  • urges corporations to focus their business on products and services that improve public health
  • asks governments to reaffirm their commitment to cost-effective cancer strategies that save lives, such as:
    • Implementation of vaccination programs which prevent infections that cause cervical and liver cancer
    • Scale up of access to early detection and screening programs for cervical, breast and colorectal cancers
    • Effective tobacco taxation, regulation and control
    • Pain relief and palliative care services for all cancer patients
    • Create healthy schools, workplaces and cities
    • Join forces to make a difference--to inspire action and take action; make the case for investing in cancer prevention and screening efforts and shape policy change

I can:

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices
  • Understand that early detection saves lives and schedule age-appropriate screenings for myself and family
  • If diagnosed, take control of my cancer journey, ask for support and support others, and return to work if possible

“Preventing millions of unnecessary deaths and suffering from cancer will require collaborative action at both individual and collective levels to maximize effectiveness of our efforts,” said Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Commissioner of Health. “Over 1,000 people per year die from cancer in Erie County, the second highest cause of death (behind heart disease). Employers can play a crucial role also by investing in the well-being of their workplace and the wider environment they impact by providing dedicated time off for employees to receive important cancer screening services. Individuals need to take personal responsibility for their health adopting a healthy lifestyle, including receiving age-appropriate screenings for certain types of cancer. As cost should not be a barrier, free screenings for breast, cervical and colorectal cancers for uninsured residents are available through the Erie County Cancer Services Program.”

More than a third of all cancers (up to 4.5 million per year) are preventable through lifestyle interventions and individuals can take responsibility for reducing their own cancer risk. Simple measures such as stopping smoking, eating less red and processed meat, exercising regularly and reducing alcohol use can extend a healthy life and should be seen as the firstline of defense against cancer and other associated non-communicable diseases.

“We must all work together if we are to free the world from the pain and suffering of cancer. The American Cancer Society has made significant contributions to the remarkable progress we’ve seen in the U.S. In addition, as a global leader, we continue to share our expertise in cancer prevention and treatment to help save more lives. On this World Cancer Day, we can make a difference for millions of people everywhere by committing to actions that will reduce the global threat of the disease,” added Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society.

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For More Information:

Erie County Cancer Services Program

Erie County Department of Health

World Cancer Day

New York State Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan

New York State Cancer Consortium


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