On February 4, 2016, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is joining organizations across the globe to mark World Cancer Day. Supported internationally by major cancer societies, ministries of health, treatment centres, as well as patient groups, survivors, caregivers and more, this truly global event unites people around the world in raising awareness about what can be done to reverse the impact of cancer and save lives.

This year’s theme, ‘We Can. I Can.’ is the beginning of the Union for International Cancer Control’s (UICC) three-year international campaign to highlight the collaborative efforts needed, from collectives and individuals, to alleviate the burden of cancer. World Cancer Day 2016

To celebrate the significant impact individuals and the collective cancer community can make on the disease, the Partnership is hosting an event on February 4 in Toronto. Key partners across the cancer community will attend to recognize the unprecedented collaboration underway to reduce the burden of cancer in Canada. Bringing together patients and professionals within the cancer community, the event celebrates the collaborative work “we can” do to change the Canadian cancer landscape.

To bring “We Can. I Can.” to life, the Partnership will showcase a video profiling some of the everyday heroes of the cancer control system. The video embodies this year’s World Cancer Day theme by emphasizing how individual stories can come together to make a lasting difference. It demonstrates the interconnectedness between various perspectives along the cancer control continuum – for example, a researcher’s work supports a physician’s care, which in turns helps a patient. View the full ‘hero’ video here.

Capturing stories with YourCancerStory

The patient voice is fundamental in transforming cancer care in Canada. World Cancer Day also marks the launch of YourCancerStory, an online initiative by the Partnership to capture stories of Canadians who have been touched by cancer. As a demonstration of the Partnership’s commitment to patient engagement, this virtual platform allows individuals to submit testimonial videos to share their personal cancer journeys. Patients, families, caregivers, volunteers, professionals and more are encouraged to share their stories in an effort to help each other, inform policy and influence practice. By gathering these stories, the Partnership aims to better understand and share personal experiences within the cancer system to ensure that patients, families and caregivers are equal partners in their care. Visit yourcancerstory.ca to see more.

Patient engagement panel led by Carly Weeks

A multi-disciplinary panel focusing on patient engagement, a core theme among health care initiatives, will be moderated by Globe and Mail Health Reporter and Columnist Carly Weeks. Bringing together patients and clinicians, the discussion will explore the opportunities and challenges in improving patient and public engagement within the cancer control system. Among the panelists are Pat Hartley, a breast cancer survivor and volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society’s CancerConnection; Claudia Hernandez, a breast cancer survivor and member of the Return to Work Project team at the Partnership; Dr. Seema Marwaha, general internist and researcher at Trillium Health Partners and creator of FacesofHealthCare.ca; and Dr. Joshua Tepper, President and CEO, Health Quality Ontario. The panelists will also discuss ways to empower Canadians to take individual and collective action to reduce the burden of cancer, opportunities for collaborations between patients and health care professionals, patient involvement in services, strategies and policies, as well as other topics of importance to the patient, family and volunteer community.

Get involved

On World Cancer Day, people around the world are encouraged to get involved in the global effort to spread the message of “We Can. I Can.” by taking part in the “Talking Hands” campaign. “Talking Hands” is a creative way for anyone on social media to show their support to fight cancer. It involves writing a “We Can” or “I Can” pledge on the hand, photographing it and sharing the picture on a social platform using the hashtags #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan. All pledges are featured on worldcancerday.org.

Visit worldcancerday.org to find out more, or read our news release and Shelly Jamieson’s blog post on the Huffington Post. Join the conversation on social media using #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan to see the impact communities and individuals can make on reducing the burden of cancer.

The CN Tower in Toronto will be lit in blue and orange on February 4, 2016 to recognize World Cancer Day.