#CloseTheCareGap in #CancerCare

World Cancer Day held every February 4th is the global uniting initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). The goal of this day is to raise worldwide awareness, improve education, and catalyze personal, collective and government action. By working together, millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equitable for all – no matter who you are or where you live.  

This year’s World Cancer Day’s theme, “Close the Care Gap”, is all about raising awareness of this equity gap that affects almost everyone, in high as well as low- and middle-income countries, and is costing lives. The PEN team, including staff, Empowerment Leads, and Board Members, put together a special video to raise awareness. 

#CloseTheCareGap in #CancerCare from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Cancer Facts

  • Half the world’s population lacks access to the full range of essential health services, and many are denied basic cancer care 
    • Why? Due to differences in income and education levels, geographical location, and discrimination based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and lifestyle. 
  • 10 million people died of cancer in 2020. That’s equivalent to the population of Bangkok or twice the population of Ireland. 
  • There are now 19.3 million new cases of cancer in a year. Yet 30-50% of all cancers are preventable. Reduce the risks of cancer with healthier behaviors, regular screening, earlier detection and timely treatment of pre-cancers. 
  • Up to 10% of cancers are related to genetic mutation. 27% of cancer deaths are from tobacco and alcohol use. 
  • 70% of cancer deaths occur in low-to-middle income countries. 
  • Less than 30% of low-income countries have cancer treatment services available (compared to 90% in high-income countries). 
  • Cancer kills nearly 10 million people a year and some 70% of those are aged 65 or older, yet older populations face disproportionate barriers to effective treatment. 


  1. Best Care No Matter Where You Live is an advocacy and empowerment program for patients and families facing a cancer diagnosis where many factors, including age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender and insurance type may impact disease outcomes. Feel more in control of your health journey and gain confidence around your treatment decisions no matter your geography with powerful self-advocacy vignettes and empowered patient and care partner expert segments. 
  2. Digitally Empowered™ helps you become more tech-savvy so you can find information and support to empower you and your loved ones during your cancer journey. By improving your tech skills, you can open the door to a whole new world of knowledge and tools to help you research your condition, ask informed questions and take an active role in shared decision making with your care team. 
  3. digital sherpa™ Train-the-Trainer allows community-based organizations to bring digital sherpa™ to their members by giving them the tools and resources to host personalized workshops. digital sherpa™ helps cancer patients (mainly 65 and older) and their families become more tech-savvy. By educating them in basic internet and social media skills, this empowers them become more knowledgeable.