Cancer awareness and prevention

4 February marks World Cancer Day, an initiative started in 2000 and led by the Union for International Cancer Control, UICC

Campaign on 1 February 2024

A dedicated webinar was held featuring microtalks by Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG), La ligue genevoise contre le cancer, La ligue française contre le cancer, Fondation Genevoise de Dépistage du Cancer, Cancer Support Switzerland and the CERN psychologists. Talks were given mainly in English, with some in French. 

Subjects span epidemiology, risk factors, treatment and prevention measures, and advice on how to manage the disease both for cancer patients and for those supporting them. The CERN psychologists also ralk about the mind-body connection and how to optimize recovery.

Watch the webinar recording here

The CERN Medical Service also hosted an information stand to with several of these partner organisations, as well as the Knowledge Transfer group from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Restaurant 1.



Cancer is a global health challenge that affects millions of people. It is a complex group of diseases characterized by the growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body. The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) estimates there were as many as 18.1mn cases worldwide in 2020, with near equal impact on men and women. The most common types of cancer include breast, lung, gastrointestinal and prostate cancers—though there are many more—and cancer is estimated to cause roughly one in six deaths in 2020 (WHO). While the prevalence of cancer can vary by region, type of cancer, and demographic factors, it is unequivocal that cancer is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality.

There is hope however: WHO suggests that up to 50% of cancers can be prevented, either by lifestyle changes or simple proactive medical interventions. By making informed choices, starting with adopting an active lifestyle with a varied, healthy diet, individuals can reduce their cancer risk and contribute to the global effort to combat the disease. 


There's a lot you can do to reduce your risk of cancer – starting with living a healthy, active lifestyle: making healthy choices and taking small but important steps is the best way to stay on the path of good health, no matter what age you are. 

Every little helps:

  • Eat well.
  • Move more, sit less.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid tobacco.
  • Be 'sun safe' and limit exposure to the sun, whatever the season.
  • Ensure you carry out appropriate screenings and get vaccinated against HPV - Human Papillomavirus and hepatitis B).
  • Get checked regularly by your General practitioner.

Take this interactive test (in French) “Reduce your risks of cancer: take the test! (3 minutes)

If in doubt, check it out!


if you have cancer or are supporting a family member, friend or colleague affected by cancer, don't go through it alone. Help is at hand.

The CERN Medical Service, infirmary and psychologists can also guide you on finding the best support depending on your circumstances and needs.

Further reading and resources