World Cancer Day 2021: saluting the strength of the cancer community through the COVID-19 pandemic

WCD 2021

Thursday, February 04 2021, not only celebrates World Cancer Day’s 21st birthday but also the final year of its ‘I Am and I Will’ 3-year global campaign. As importantly, it recognizes the extraordinary efforts of cancer organizations, research institutes, cancer care professionals and providers, volunteers, advocates and individuals around the world who have rapidly responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

It praises the programs and valiant actions of all stakeholders in oncology, including funding bodies, government agencies, regulatory authorities, and the pharmaceutical industry who continue to work together in maintaining progress in cancer research, treatment and care.

Capturing just some of these amazing endeavors, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) will launch its dedicated web page entitled Adaptations and innovations in cancer care through COVID-19 and beyond on WCD. This online resource will encapsulate the bravery and achievements of people living with cancer and their families, as well as the nurses, doctors, researchers, advocates and others who care for them and on their behalf, and also represents a call for action from everyone to help save lives from this disease.

The various testimonies, stories, expert video clips and articles will highlight that while the pandemic is undoubtedly threatening the progress being made in the fight against cancer, it has also created many opportunities in patient care delivery as well as addressing systemic issues faced by many national health systems.

Streaming live

Among the many planned activities, UICC has organized an entertaining and informative virtual live program broadcasting live from 09:00h CET – 21:00h CET on Facebook Live and the World Cancer Day (WCD) website: Aimed at the general public, WCD supporters and members of the international cancer community, the program incorporates live broadcasts every half an hour. Each session is led by a UICC host and lasts between 5-10 minutes. Among the invited expert speakers is our Director, Josep Tabernero.

He will be interviewed on February 04 as of 15:00h CET for an expert chat.

Commenting for VHIO’s Global Communications, Josep Tabernero said, “More than ever before, particularly in view of current COVID-19 pandemic, we must all support World Cancer Day by getting involved and actively seek to reduce the global burden of cancer.”

“Only through strong cancer programs and global initiatives such as UICC’s World Cancer Day, can we collectively strive to improve cancer prevention and minimize disease risk as well as ensure equity in access to cancer services and care – at the regional, national and international levels,” he added.

Renowned leaders respond to questions from children around the world on the elimination of cervical cancer

This year’s WCD will also shine important light on the World Health Organization’s Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer. Specifically, UICC invited renowned leaders within the field, including Ana Oaknin, Principal Investigator of our Gynecological Malignancies Group, to respond to questions from children from different parts of the world on the elimination of cervical cancer.

The pre-recorded questions and answers are aimed at a younger audience and a broader public who may not be familiar with cervical cancer and the importance of stamping it out. These videos highlight the global leaders’ commitment to the future generation by triggering must-have conversations among younger people, their families, schools and communities.

Commenting on the importance of strengthening public awareness Ana Oaknin noted, “I congratulate this year’s World Cancer Day for its important efforts in promoting actions to prevent future deaths from cervical cancer across the globe. Nine out of ten deaths from cervical cancer occur in low-and middle-income countries where screening programs are largely lacking.”

She added, “Without action, cervical cancer deaths are estimated to rise a further 50% by 2030. All stakeholders in oncology must come together to reverse this terrible situation. Educating our younger generations about the importance of eliminating this tumor type will be instrumental in these efforts.”

You will find the videos counting on Ana’s participation in the following links:

To access all the videos with Ana and other leading researchers and experts please bookmark and visit the Cervical Cancer Elimination spotlight page:


The impact of COVID-19 on clinical cancer research

Our Director, Josep Tabernero, has also been invited for comment by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) on how the pandemic has affected clinical research, patient treatment and care at his own Medical Oncology Department at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital (HUVH), as well as in broader terms.

In support of this year’s WCD, the EORTC selected several trailblazers in oncology, including Josep, to briefly discuss the impact of COVID-19 thus far, challenges faced, and the likely impact of the virus in the future. To access this collection of expert videos that will be released on World Cancer Day, 04 February, please visit: They will also be released across social media on the day.

For more information about this year’s World Cancer Day please see UICC’s official press release and related links here:

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