World Cancer Day 2024: A message from CEO Dr. Craig Earle

How Canada is closing the care gap in cancer prevention and care

February 4 is World Cancer Day, and this year’s theme is Closing the Care Gap.

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership) is marking this global day of action to improve cancer outcomes by reflecting on the importance of health equity. Access to cancer screening, treatment and prevention are different because of where people live, their income level, and other barriers. We are working to change that.

The Partnership is committed to advancing health equity as we work to implement the priorities of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control. This ambitious 10-year action plan, which the Partnership stewards, was designed to achieve equitable access to quality cancer prevention and care in Canada and to ensure a sustainable system for the future.

Together with partners, the Partnership is making strides toward the Strategy’s vision in Canada: a future in which fewer people develop cancer, more people survive cancer, those affected by cancer have a better quality of life and everyone in Canada has equitable access to quality cancer care.

How Canada is closing the cancer care gap

In the past year, the Partnership led and supported key equity-focused initiatives such as:

  • Implementing new Models of care: These innovative developments address common challenges across the health system in Canada, including improving coordination between the cancer and primary care systems and addressing healthcare human resources shortages.
  • Supporting the first 10 communities that joined the Improving Equity in Access to Palliative Care initiative: Launched in 2022, in partnership with Healthcare Excellence Canada, this project focuses on improving access to palliative approaches to care with and for people who are experiencing homelessness or vulnerable housing in Canada.
  • The inaugural Cancer Equity Measurement Forum in Toronto: Hosted by the Partnership, this event brought together partners from across Canada to establish a network that co-creates a shared vision and identifies areas of action and opportunities to advance health equity measurement and reporting across the cancer continuum in Canada.
  • Pan-Canadian Summit on the Elimination of Cervical Cancer: Convened in Halifax by the Partnership, the Summit brought together decision-makers, healthcare professionals, patients, community and equity partners, and other change agents in the health system from across Canada. Together, they determined the next set of actionable steps to eliminate cervical cancer for all.
  • Partnership-funded initiatives on Peoples-specific, self-determined cancer priorities: The Partnership welcomed representatives from First Nations, Inuit and Métis partner organizations in Toronto in March to celebrate six years of progress and impact that engaged over 130 Indigenous governments and benefitted more than 500 communities.

But work remains to be done.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada

It is estimated that about two in five people in Canada will develop cancer in their lifetime, and about one in four people will die from cancer. One in six people who live in rural or remote communities report delays between cancer diagnosis and starting treatment.

We are committed to working in close collaboration with partners across Canada to help change that. With the Strategy as our guide, we support our partners in our collective work to close the care gap, improving cancer outcomes and access to high-quality care for all.

Halifax, Calgary, Vancouver, TorontoAbout World Cancer Day 2024

World Cancer Day takes place every year on February 4 and is a key international awareness day that unites the world in the fight against cancer.

Created in 2000 and coordinated by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), World Cancer Day 2024 is taking place under the theme “Close the Care Gap” and focuses on commitments to prioritize cancer, create innovative strategies designed to address inequity, and invest our resources to achieve a just and cancer-free world.