World Cancer Day 4th February 2017 | Breast Cancer UK

World Cancer Day (4th February 2017)

Published 3 Feb 2017

World Cancer Day unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer.   The theme for this year’s World Cancer Day is, ‘We Can, I Can’, highlighting how everyone, collectively, or as an individual, can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer. 

Our focus here at Breast Cancer UK is on prevention and helping people reduce their risk of breast cancer by tackling the environmental and chemical causes of the disease. 

We are very much behind the concept of “I can”.  We encourage people to choose products that help to reduce their exposure to some of the harmful chemicals that have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer (see here for more about the chemicals we are concerned about).

But we also call on Governments, manufacturers and retailers to act in the collective interest and take action to remove and replace harmful chemicals with safer alternatives wherever possible.    In doing so they will make it much easier for us (or we) as a society to live healthier lives. 

Unfortunately, over the last few decades the use of synthetic chemicals in everyday products, from food packaging and cosmetics to kitchen cleaners and garden sprays has increased enormously.   As a society, we have come to expect that detergents are heavily fragranced, food heavily packaged and that deodorants will last “up to 48 hours”.   But the resulting impact on our environment, our wildlife and our health is too often ignored – only bubbling to the surface occasionally in visible reminders of the damage we are doing to ourselves and our planet. 

Meanwhile diseases like breast cancer are becoming more prevalent.    Incidence rates are growing year on year.  Now 1 in 8 women are predicted to get the disease at some point in their lives – 1 in 5 diagnosed will be under the age of 50.    The burden on individuals, their families, communities and the wider health service is immeasurable.    There is increasing evidence that our exposure to so many harmful chemicals might be making us more vulnerable to this disease. 

It is important that we take action individually to help reduce our risk of illnesses like breast cancer.  But more than this, together, our individual actions will also help to send a clear message to the powers that be that we want safer products and cleaner environments.   We should not have to wait until the damage is done before action is taken to limit, reduce or prohibit the use of certain chemicals in products.     If we all speak together, our voice will be heard. 

World Cancer Day is a time to reflect on what you can do to help reduce the global burden of cancer, so make a pledge and take action for prevention:

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