SAfAIDS Statement on World Cancer Day 2019

Since 2000, 4 February is commemorated globally as World Cancer Day, to raise awareness on cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. The primary goal of the Day is to significantly reduce illness and mortality caused by cancer. The World Health Organisation reports that cancer mortality dropped by 1.7% in 2018, however an estimated 17 people lose their lives to cancer every minute, with global mortality rates of 1 in every 6 deaths being attributed to cancer. Additionally, according to WHO (2018), if the incidence of cancer continues to grow at the reported rate, global cancer mortality rates will increase to more than 13.1 million by 2030. This alarmingly high prevalence is particularly pronounced in economically less-developed countries; with at least 70% of cancer deaths being recorded. WHO (2018), reports that as many as 40 percent of deaths from cancer are preventable, hence the need for strengthened collective global awareness-raising efforts to prevent the disease(s).  

This year, World Cancer Day is being commemorated under the 3-year (2019-2021) theme; ‘I Am and I Will,’ focusing on storytelling and commitment. SAfAIDS joins WHO, International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and the rest of the world in commemorating the Day through raising awareness on reproductive health cancers; among them, prostate, penile, testicular (occurring in men), cervical, ovarian, uterine/endometrial, vulvar (occurring in women), and breast cancer (occurring in both women and men). As the global community strives to attain Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, on improving the health and wellbeing of all, among other SDGs, SAfAIDS, reaffirms its commitment to addressing information gaps, raising awareness on and reducing stigma around reproductive cancers through strengthening advocacy on and disseminating comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the SADC region. Additionally, SAfAIDS remains committed to improving the lives and safeguarding the health of people living with HIV (PLHIV), through advocacy on positive living, highlighting the consequential effect of cancer on the health of PLHIV.

SAfAIDS continues to build the capacity of women, men, girls and boys on reproductive health cancers, which remain leading causes of morbidity and mortality globally, through dissemination of comprehensive SRHR information, education and mentorship, increasing positive SRHR outcomes in the SADC region. This year, we are reaffirming and pledging our commitment to improving the health and lives of citizens of the SADC region on this Day and throughout the year.

As we commemorate the Day, let us also celebrate the brave individuals who have won the battle against cancer, inspiring hundreds of millions of people globally, as well as tremendous milestones that have been made in field of research, testing and treatment, leading to a significant decrease in morbidity and mortality.


Let us Commit, Raise Awareness on and Share Stories of Cancer Survival and

Save Lives in the SADC Region and Beyond.

I Am the Voice, and I Will Play a Part!


Knowledge for action: The power to make a difference!

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