WCD Support Through Sport
World Cancer Day © UICC

How World Cancer Day is encouraging sport to show its support in the fight against cancer

12th January 2017

World Cancer Day takes place every year on 4 February to unite the world in the fight against cancer. The Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about the disease, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action.

This year’s theme of ‘We can. I can.’ is an empowering message that our actions, at both the collective and individual level, can make a difference in the fight against cancer. 

With World Cancer Day falling on a weekend this year, many people will be out and about either playing sport, getting active, or watching a game – from a junior hockey match to the great rugby tournaments. 

Sport has been used as a positive and powerful tool for social change and development, from addressing greater gender equity, combatting gang violence, to inspiring a healthier and more active generation.  

This year, World Cancer Day is harnessing the power of sport, including its fans, athletes, official and teams, to help spread and amplify the message that we can all support the fight against cancer. 

Sport and exercise: prevention and recovery 

Physical activity, in conjunction with a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight, has been shown to help prevent about a third of common cancers.  Sport indeed has an important role to play in cancer prevention. But, physical actitivity is an equally important factor in the treatment and recovery stages of cancer.  

During treatment, moderate exercise can help improve fitness levels, valuable during the rigours of treatment. Being physically active can also increase energy, improve sleep, and create a general sense of well-being, which can all aid in the recovery process. 

How Tennis is playing a role in the fight against cancer  

The French Tennis Federation has developed their Tennis, Sport, Health and Well-being programme for individuals who have gone through cancer treatment. Launching on World Cancer Day, the programme introduces an adapted form of tennis that includes larger rackets, slower balls and smaller courts, offering therapeutic benefits in a social setting as part of the cancer recovery journey.

Support through Sport: how to get involved 

This year, World Cancer Day’s Support through Sport initiative is encouraging the world to show how sport can support the fight against cancer. One of the most powerful ways to achieve this is through the collective power of social media – and anyone can get involved. 

The World Cancer Day social media campaign is asking everyone to: 

  1. Simply take your ball, racket, frisbee, skis, helmet, paddle, hand or any other sport gear and write the World Cancer Day hashtag on it - #WeCanICan
  2. Take a photo of you, your team or your club with the #WeCanICan hashtag
  3. Show your support by sharing your photo as far and wide as you can across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, including #WeCanICan and #WorldCancerDay in your post.

This 4 February, on World Cancer Day, let’s show the world together that ‘We can. I can’ help fight cancer through sport. 


For more information on World Cancer Day’s Support through Sport initiative, visit: worldcancerday.org/supportthroughsport 


Click to share the word about World Cancer Day on twitter!


About the Author 

Thuy Khuc-Bilon is the World Cancer Day Manager at UICC (@UICC), working alongside cancer organisations and hospitals, corporate partners, cities, schools and the general public, to help empower their participation in this growing global movement.  

World Cancer Day takes place every year on 4 February and is the single initiative under which the world can unite to raise the profile of cancer in a positive and inspiring way. Coordinated by UICC, World Cancer Day is this year taking place under the tagline ‘We can. I can.’ and explores how everyone – as a collective or as individuals – can do their part to reduce the global burden of cancer. Just as cancer affects everyone in different ways, everyone has the power to take action to reduce the impact that cancer has. World Cancer Day is a chance to reflect on what you can do, make a pledge and take action.