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Letter to Corporates – World Cancer Day 4 Feb 2014

World Cancer Day - 4 February 2014

World Cancer Day – 4 February 2014

World Cancer Day 4 February 2014 – Get the Truth About Cancer!

Can you imagine if all corporates and organisations worked together to fight cancer? World Cancer Day is a chance to raise our collective voices in the name of improving general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease.

The 2014 World Cancer Day campaign is taking place under the tagline ‘Debunk the Myths’, and we will be focussing on four general misconceptions around cancer which are common around the world.

Globally, more people die from cancer than from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. Each year, 14.1 million people learn they have cancer, and 8.2 million people die from the disease worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) projects that without immediate action, the global number of deaths from cancer will increase by nearly 80% by 2030, with most occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Research suggests that one-third of cancer deaths can be avoided through education, the dispelling of myths and misconceptions and addressing the known modifiable risk factors, which are known to cause cancers. CANSA believes that all corporations and organisations are in a unique position to help us raise awareness and promote education for employees and their loved ones.

We encourage all workplaces, organisations and corporates to view World Cancer Day as an opportunity to involve your employees and partners actively in the theme of the Day. Express your commitment to raising awareness of cancer within your communities by disseminating information about cancer inside and outside your business. We also believe that corporates should use World Cancer Day to unite your employees around an issue which affects so many. In SA, 1 in 4 people are affected by cancer. This is something we should all talk about.

Senior leaders in all corporations are in a unique position to help us raise the visibility and understanding of cancer issues across your employees, customers, stakeholders and local communities given your scope, extensive internal and external networks and communication expertise and platforms.

View CANSA’s slideshow – World Cancer Day:

or download pdf version.

Take part and spread the word

How can you use these myths in your business?

We’ve developed four myths which can be used by companies either as is, or adapted to suit the needs of that business. You can take one myth and build a media outreach campaign based on that alone. Others can use the overarching theme of ‘myths and misconceptions’ to frame a specific local issue which is important to them. Use the tools and materials we have provided to develop a plan for 4th February which suits your own organisation’s requirements.

For example, it may be that Myth 3, “There is nothing I can do about cancer” is an attractive means for you to raise the issue of the role companies have to play in the fight against cancer, such as tobacco use. This can be put in the context of why smoking is banned in offices or on company premises.

Likewise, Myth 1, “We don’t need to talk about cancer” may be aligned with messages which you are conveying about being open about issues within the business and how it is important that employees support each other through difficult times.

There are many ways in which you can integrate World Cancer Day into your business on 4th February. Here are some tips:

  • Develop and publish a series of communications about World Cancer Day and the new 2014 Campaign (internal memo, article in the employees newsletter, CEO Blog, joint press release, intranet etc…) to share with your colleagues and external network (Get the Truth about Cancer – World Cancer Day (4 Feb) / Die Waarheid oor Kanker op Wêreld Kankerdag 4 Feb)
  • Invite employees to arrange events that raise the profile of cancer or raise money. CANSA offers an online platform for volunteers and corporate South Africa to take part as online ‘Champions’ by raising funds for specific projects or health programmes.
  • Use your website, Twitter and Facebook presence to highlight the Day and link to the World Cancer Day feeds. Follow Twitter: @CANSA and join CANSA on Facebook: CANSA The Cancer Association of South Africa to receive regular tweets and posts about World Cancer Day
  • Invite local cancer leaders to talk to your employees and/or your leadership teams on what issues they face in addressing cancer in your country
  • Encourage a cancer survivor within your workplace to talk to your employees about their survivorship
  • Share cancer information across your business on the Day
  • Put links on your website which direct employees to our CANSA site –
  • CANSA assists companies in building supportive environments by partnering with you on wellness days where we deliver presentations and hold workshops on cancer-related topics, as well as conduct screenings and tests
  • Take part in CANSA’s annual Shavathon by hosting a corporate event 24 to 28 February or at your nearest shopping centre on 1 March
  • Take part in CANSA’s Relay For Life Corporate event happening 20 September

What if one of your employees is diagnosed with cancer?

What employers can do

  1. Find out all you can about cancer and its prevalence and create awareness of the disease among your staff. You need to understand that the chances are good that there will be people in your organisation who have been or will be diagnosed with cancer or who have been affected by cancer.  Take note of the effect that diagnosis will have on the survivor and their colleagues.
  2. If or when your employees are diagnosed, take time to discuss how you can help them with their expected cancer journey – inclusive of treatment to follow, possible side effects, sick leave, affordability of treatment, their ability and need to continue working during and after treatment and their support systems at work and home.
  3. Be sensible, don’t overact. Be empathetic. Know that cancer is not contagious and if at all possible, employees should be encouraged to carry on working.
  4. A return to work is an important step in restoring stability, social contact and income. For both patients and their caregivers, receiving support in the workplace can be of great benefit. A supportive approach from employers can reduce anxiety and provide the skills and confidence to deal with cancer at work.

We can help – for information, care and support, refer them to the closest CANSA Care Centre  or call the toll-free line on 0800 22 66 22 or email

What employees need to do

  1. You need to talk to your employer as soon as possible after your diagnosis. They need the following info – diagnosis, nature of your treatment and possible effects it will have on you, to enable them to assess how it will affect your work capabilities in your working environment.
  2. Go in with solutions. Suggest ways in which you will be able to continue to cope with your work and what your employer can do to help you to continue to be productive.
  3. Be confident and assertive. While you are undergoing treatment and feel tired and weak, you may want to give up and resign or would even accept unfair treatment from your employer. Know your rights according to the companies’ dreaded diseases protocol and if not in place, help them to develop one.  If you do perceive that there is a process of discrimination against you, be brave enough to confront the situation.
  4. Surround yourself with support. Not just your loved ones, family and friends, but include your colleagues and mentors that can help you maintain a sense of equilibrium.
  5. Always act in a responsible manner to yourself and your employer.  Don’t abuse the kindness of your employer and colleagues as it may create prejudice for future cancer survivors in your working place.

We can help – for information, care and support, contact your closest CANSA Care Centre or call the toll-free line on 0800 22 66 22 or email


Read more…

Queries CANSA

Read more about cancer myths and facts here or contact CANSA toll-free at 0800 22 66 22. You can also email if you have any additional queries or if you require more evidence-based information on these or other topics.

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