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JANUARY

National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month was first recognized in 2002 and is observed every January. It was introduced in 1999 as a House Concurrent Resolution by Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.) and as a Senate Resolution by Sen. Connie Mack III (R-Fla.).

Cervical cancer, caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), can be prevented with a vaccine. See Cancer Health’s Cervical Cancer Basics page and our news and information about cervical cancer. Learn more about the cervical cancer community from the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.


FEBRUARY

National Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Awareness Month raises awareness of these less common cancers. According to the American Cancer Society, about 12,300 people are diagnosed with gallbladder cancer about 8,000 people are diagnosed with bile duct cancer—also known as cholangiocarcinoma—every year. World Cholangiocarcinoma Day is an international campaign observed every February 12.

See Cancer Health’s Gallbladder and Bile Duct Cancer Basics page and our news and information about gallbladder cancer and bile duct cancer. Learn more about the gallbladder and bile duct community from the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation and these and related cancers from the Bili Project.

National Cancer Prevention Month was first observed in 2004 after the passage of Senate Resolution 252 in 2003. It was introduced by Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.) to encourage communities across the country to "take this opportunity to educate one another on the steps they can take to prevent cancer.”

Cancer prevention can include making lifestyle changes like reducing your sun exposure and stopping smoking; public health campaigns like increasing access to the HPV vaccine; and getting regular, recommended cancer screenings.

World Cancer Day is an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control. It was first observed in 2000. Every February 4, advocates around the world unite to raise public awareness of cancer, with long-term goals including improving treatment and survival rates. Learn more about World Cancer Day goals and this year’s campaign on the WCD site.


MARCH

Myeloma Awareness Month was first observed in the U.S. as part of National Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma Awareness Month in September 2005. In 2009, the International Myeloma Foundation first recognized March as Myeloma Awareness Month, later renaming its campaign Myeloma Action Month. The U.S. Congress first recognized March as Myeloma Awareness Month in 2014.

Multiple myeloma is a rare blood cancer that affects bone marrow. The American Cancer Society estimates that around 32,000 people are diagnosed with the disease each year. Most people diagnosed with multiple myeloma are age 65 or older, and it disproportionately affects African Americans. See Cancer Health’s Multiple Myeloma Basics page and our news and information about multiple myeloma. Learn more about the mutiple myeloma community from the International Myeloma Foundation.

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month was first proclaimed by President Bill Clinton in 2000. It is observed every March to educate people about colorectal cancer prevention and treatment.

Colorectal cancer, which includes cancers of the colon and the rectum, is the third most common cancer in the U.S., with the American Cancer Society reporting over 95,000 new cases annually. It is most prevalent among people over 50. Today, colorectal cancer is often detected at earlier stages thanks to widespread screening. See Cancer Health’s Colon Cancer Basics page and our news and information about colorectal cancer. Learn more about the colorectal cancer community from the Colorectal Cancer Alliance and Fight Colorectal Cancer.

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Day was established in 2013 and is observed every March 3 to call attention to this less common but more aggressive type of breast cancer. Triple-negative breast cancer accounts for 15 to 20 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses. It does not have three types of receptors that make breast cancer susceptible to commonly used treatments. It is diagnosed at higher rates in premenopausal women, Black women and women with BRCA gene mutations.

Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and Joan Lunden became awareness advocates following their diagnoses with this type of cancer type. See Cancer Health’s news and information about triple-negative breast cancer. Learn more about the triple-negative breast cancer community from the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation and Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

International HPV Awareness Day is a campaign by the International Papillomavirus Society to educate the public about human papillomavirus (HPV), its link to certain cancers and the vaccine that prevents it. IHPV Awareness Day was first observed in 2018 and takes place every March 4. HPV, one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, can cause cervical, anal, genital and oral cancers. Infection can be prevented with a vaccine.

See Cancer Health’s news and information about HPV. Learn more about HPV and cervical cancer from the National Cervical Cancer Coalition.


APRIL

National Cancer Control Month was established by a Congressional Joint Resolution in 1938, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt first proclaimed April to be Cancer Control Month in 1940. It is an opportunity to educate the public about the need to prevent cancer through public health initiatives such as screening and to improve access to care and treatment.

An article from the Victorville, California, News-Herald illustrates an early Cancer Control Month campaign by the American Society for the Control of Cancer—today the American Cancer Society—to “station nurses in drugstores…to better acquaint the public with the early symptoms of cancer.” Today, government agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute run educational initiatives, collect data and fund research. See Cancer Health’s Cancer Prevention Basics page and our news and information about early detection.

National Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week is observed internationally every April to bring public attention to the disease. It was created by the Yul Brynner Head and Neck Cancer Foundation—today the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance—in 1998 and focused on head and neck cancers; organizers added oral cancer in 2001. Oral, head and neck cancers are linked to smoking, heavy drinking and, increasingly, human papillomavirus (HPV). The HPV vaccine reduces this risk. The American Cancer Society estimates about 53,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer every year and around 62,000 with head and neck cancer.

See Cancer Health’s Oral (Head and Neck) Cancer Basics page and news and information about oral cancer and head and neck cancer. Learn more about the oral, head and neck cancer community from the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance, Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer and the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Testicular Cancer Awareness Month began in 2013 as Testicular Cancer Awareness Week, which was observed every April 1-7. Today it has been extended to the entire month of April, featuring awareness campaigns and promotion of self-exams. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in men ages 15 to 34. According to the American Cancer Society, around 9,000 new cases of the disease are diagnosed annually.

See Cancer Health’s Testicular Cancer Basics page and news and information about testicular cancer. Learn more about the testicular cancer community from the Testicular Cancer Society, the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation and the Center for Advocacy for Cancer of the Testes International.

National Minority Cancer Awareness Week was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in April 1987 following passage of House Joint Resolution 119, which was introduced in January 1987 by Rep. Mervyn Dymally (D-Calif.). As part of National Minority Health Month, it is observed the third week of April every year. According to statistics from the National Cancer Institute, minority groups in the U.S. are likelier than white people to be diagnosed with and die of many different types of cancers. To address racial inequalities in cancer diagnoses, NCI established the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities in 2001.

See Cancer Health’s news and information about minorities and cancer. Learn more about minority cancer awareness from the National Cancer Institute, and find out how minorities affected by cancer can get direct support from CancerCare.


MAY

Bladder Cancer Awareness Month was first recognized by the U.S. Congress in May 2015 as a Senate Resolution sponsored by Sen. Robert Menendez (R-N.J.), and was the result of lobbying by the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. BCAN has been organizing the annual Walk for Bladder Cancer event since May 2011; prior to that, bladder cancer awareness had been observed in July.

According to the American Cancer Society, bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in men, but less common in women. See Cancer Health’s Bladder Cancer Basics page and news and information about bladder cancer. Find out more about the bladder cancer community from BCAN.

Brain Tumor Awareness Month began as Brain Tumor Action Week, established by the North American Brain Tumor Coalition as the first week of May in 1998. In May 2008, House Resolution 1124, sponsored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), extended the annual observance to the entire month.

The American Cancer Society estimates that around 24,000 adults are diagnosed with malignant brain and spinal cord tumors are each year. Although rare in adults, brain and spinal cord cancer is the second most common types of childhood cancer. See Cancer Health’s Brain Cancer Basics page and news and information about brain cancer. Find out more about the brain cancer community from the National Brain Tumor Society, the American Brain Tumor Association and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

National Cancer Research Month was first observed by the Senate in a May 2007 resolution sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), in honor of the 100th anniversary of the American Association for Cancer Research. Eleven scientists founded AACR on May 7, 1907, “to further the investigation and spread the knowledge of cancer.”

See Cancer Health’s news and information about cancer research. Learn more about cancer research from the National Cancer Institute, AACR and the Cancer Research Institute.

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month began as National Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Week, a House Joint Resolution signed by President Ronald Reagan in March 1985. It was later moved to the entire month of May. In 1995, the American Academy of Dermatology launched Melanoma Monday, aka “Melanoma Self-Exam Day,” on the first Monday in May. Don’t Fry Day, a campaign by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention to encourage skin protection and sun safety, began on May 29, 2009, and is observed every year on the Friday before Memorial Day.

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, affecting more than 3 million people annually. Of those, nearly 10,000 cases are melanoma, which is responsible for more deaths than other forms of skin cancer. See Cancer Health’s Melanoma Basics and Skin Cancer Basics pages, and news and information about melanoma and skin cancer. Learn more about the melanoma and skin cancer communities from the Melanoma Research Alliance and the Skin Cancer Foundation.

World No Tobacco Day is a campaign by the World Health Organization “to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes.” It has been observed on May 31 since 1988. The use of tobacco products, whether smoked or smokeless, is linked to many different types of cancer; the American Cancer Society estimates that smoking tobacco causes 30 percent of all cancer deaths in the United States, including 80 percent of all lung cancer deaths.

See Cancer Health’s news and information on smoking and tobacco. Learn more about World No Tobacco Day from the WHO.


JUNE

Cancer Immunotherapy Awareness Month began in 2013 as a campaign by the Cancer Research Institute to educate the public about this type of treatment and raise money to help fund more research.

In the United States, William Coley, MD, began successfully treating several types of cancers with bacteria in 1891, though without a clear understanding of how it worked; active bacteria was proven to be effective in 1976. In recent years, researchers have made more breakthroughs in treatments including vaccines, checkpoint inhibitors and CAR-T therapy.

See Cancer Health’s Immunotherapy Basics page and news and information about immunotherapy. Read a short history of immunotherapy as cancer treatment and learn more about CRI’s ImmunoCommunity.

National Cancer Survivors Day, started by the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation in 1988, is observed on the first Sunday in June. The NCSDF characterizes it as a day for celebration, inspiration, support and outreach for everyone whose life has been affected by cancer. Individuals and organizations across the United States and internationally observe the day with events that raise funds for research and honor people who have faced cancer.

See Cancer Health’s Cancer 101 Basics and Living With Cancer Basics pages, and news and information about survival. Learn more about National Cancer Survivors Day from NCSDF.


JULY

UV Safety Awareness Month happens every July. The campaign has been promoted by organizations including the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The month is a reminder of the connection between ultraviolet (UV) light and cancers of the skin, eye and lip, and to educate people about effective UV protection.

Exposure to UV rays, both natural (from the sun) and artificial (fro example from tanning beds, gel manicure lamps or welding torches) causes most skin cancers, including basal cell and squamous cell cancers and melanoma. UV exposure is also linked to merkel cell carcinoma and lip cancer.

See Cancer Health’s Skin Cancer Basics, Melanoma Basics and Cancer Prevention Basics pages, and news and information about skin cancer, melanoma and sun protection. Learn more about UV safety from the Federal Occupational Health agency, the Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization.

Sarcoma Awareness Month was observed in June and July until the International Sarcoma Patient Advocate Network made July 2008 the first official Sarcoma Awareness Month. Since then, advocacy groups have lobbied for legislation recognizing both the month and July 15 as National Leimyosarcoma Day. No such legislation has passed beyond the Senate, but that doesn’t stop organizations such as the Sarcoma Foundation of America and the National LeioMyoSarcoma Foundation from educating people about these cancers.

Sarcomas are cancers that begin in the bones and soft tissues. Primary bone cancers are very rare, with around 3,500 new cases diagnosed annually. Soft tissue sarcomas are more common, with about 12,750 new diagnoses annually. Leiomyosarcoma is a soft tissue sarcoma most frequently found in the abdomen. See Cancer Health’s Bone Cancer Basics page, and news and information about bone cancer. Find out more about the sarcoma community from the Sarcoma Foundation and NLMSF.


AUGUST

World Lung Cancer Day has been observed every August 1 since its inception in 2012 as a campaign by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies. Members of the international lung health community, including the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) in the United States, use the day to educate about the disease’s risk factors and encourage

Lung cancer, according to the World Health Organization, is the most common cancer worldwide, with around 2.09 million new diagnoses each year, and is responsible for the most cancer deaths, at around 1.76 million. While smoking tobacco is the leading risk factor for lung cancer, it is not the only one: A family history of lung cancer and exposure to certain carcinogens also increase the likelihood of developing the disease. See Cancer Health’s Lung Cancer Basics page and news and information about lung cancer. Find out more about the World Lung Cancer Day campaign from CHEST and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.


SEPTEMBER

Every September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, commemorated in the United States by House Resolution 1433, sponsored by Rep. Walter B. Jones Jr. (R-NC) in 2010. It is also observed in other countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom. World Lymphoma Awareness Day began in 2004 as a campaign by the Lymphoma Coalition and is observed every September 15.

Leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and myeloproliferative neoplasms are all cancers that affect blood cells. See Cancer Health’s Blood Cancers Basics, Leukemia Basics, Lymphoma Basics and Multiple Myeloma Basics pages, and news and information about blood cancers, leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Learn more about the blood cancer community from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Lymphoma Coalition and the International Myeloma Foundation.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is observed in September. A House Joint Resolution was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in September 1992.

According to the American Cancer Society, the most common types of cancer affecting children include leukemia and lymphoma, brain and spinal cord tumors and bone cancer. See Cancer Health’s news and information about childhood cancer. Learn more about the childhood cancer community from the Children’s Cancer Research Fund and individual cancer organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month began in September 1999 as a campaign by the Foundation for Women’s Cancer. President George W. Bush signed HR 1245, the Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act of 2005, into law in 2007.

There are five main types of gynecological cancer, affecting the cervix, ovaries, uterus, vagina and vulva. Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is observed in January, while September is also Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. See Cancer Health’s Cervical Cancer Basics, Ovarian Cancer Basics, and Uterine and Endometrial Cancer Basics pages, and news and information about cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer and vulvar cancer. Learn more about the gynecologic cancer community from the Foundation for Women’s Cancer, which is part of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology.

Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month was first commemorated by President Bill Clinton in a 1998 proclamation, which named September 13–19 Ovarian Cancer Awareness Week. The National Ovarian Cancer Coalition extended it to the entire month of September in 2000. National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week has been observed during the last week of September. National Previvor Day has been recognized on the last Wednesday of September since 2010, when Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s (D-Fla.) resolution passed the House.

Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death among women. Hereditary ovarian and breast cancers are most commonly caused by inherited BRCA mutations. FORCE coined the term “previvor” in 2000 to refer to people at high genetic risk who have not yet experienced cancer.

See Cancer Health’s Ovarian Cancer Basics and Breast Cancer Basics pages, and news and information about ovarian cancer and BRCA breast cancer. Find out more about the ovarian cancer community and the hereditary breast and ovarian cancer community from NOCC, FORCE and the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Month was officially established in September 2003 in a proclamation by President George W. Bush, four years after the American Foundation for Urologic Disease named September National Prostate Health Month.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, according to the American Cancer Society. It is most common among African-American men and men age 65 and older. See Cancer Health’s Prostate Cancer Basics page and news and information about prostate cancer. Learn more about the prostate cancer community from the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Zero and the Prostate Cancer Research Institute.


OCTOBER

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been around since 1985, when it began as a campaign by the American Academy of Family Physicians, AstraZeneca Healthcare Foundation, CancerCare and other organizations. Later, in 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a Senate Joint Resolution designating October as national breast cancer awareness month into law. In 1993, President Bill Clinton proclaimed the third Friday in October National Mammography Day. In 2009, men’s breast cancer groups began observing Male Breast Cancer Awareness Week during the third week of October.

The American Cancer Society estimates that there are over 270,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed and around 42,000 breast cancer deaths annually, making it the most common cancer and the the second most fatal cancer in women. Around 1 percent of breast cancers are in men. People with the BRCA mutation are much more likely to develop breast and ovarian cancers.

See Cancer Health’s Breast Cancer Basics page and news and information about breast cancer, inflammatory breast cancermale breast cancer and metastatic breast cancer. To learn more about the breast cancer community, visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Breast Cancer Action, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Male Breast Cancer Coalition.

National Liver Cancer Awareness Month began as Liver Health Awareness Month and transitioned to focus on liver cancer beginning around 2013, based partly on the uptick in liver cancer incidence and lack of public awareness about liver cancer.

Liver cancer is the 13th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, with an estimated 42,000 new cases annually, according to the American Cancer Society. Because it is often diagnosed late and is difficult to treat, liver cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death. See Cancer Health’s Liver Cancer Basics page and news and information about liver cancer. Learn more about the liver cancer community from the American Liver Foundation and Hep magazine.


NOVEMBER

Lung Cancer Awareness Month began as Lung Cancer Awareness Day in November 1995 as a campaign by ALCASE. Lung cancer awareness is now observed during the entire month of November. The Great American Smokeout, a project to encourage people to quit smoking, organized by the American Cancer Society, was first observed in 1976, and is held on the third Thursday of November.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women in the United States, with the American Cancer Society estimating around 228,000 new diagnoses and over 142,000 deaths annually. See Cancer Health’s Lung Cancer Basics page and news and information about lung cancer. Learn more about Lung Cancer Awareness Month and the lung cancer community from LCAM.org, the Lung Cancer Alliance and LUNGevity.

National Family Caregivers Month began as National Family Caregivers Week, a campaign by the National Family Caregivers Association that became an observance over the full month of November by Presidential Proclamation in 2000.

See Cancer Health’s news and information about caregivers. Learn more about the care partner community from the Caregiver Action Network (formerly the NFCA), the Family Caregiver Alliance, the National Alliance for Caregiving and Help for Cancer Caregivers.

National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month is observed every November. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) began the campaign, and it was first observed by the House of Representatives in a Concurrent Resolution in 2002. Internationally, World Pancreatic Cancer Day is observed on the third Thursday of November, and World Neuroendocrine Tumor Awareness Day every November 10.

The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 57,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer are diagnosed annually, of which around 5 percent are endocrine or neuroendocrine tumors. Though the incidence rate is low, pancreatic cancer has a high mortality rate. See Cancer Health’s Pancreatic Cancer Basics page and news and information about pancreatic cancer and neuroendocrine tumors. Learn more about the pancreatic cancer community from PanCAN, the Lustgarden Foundation, the Hirshberg Foundation and the Neuroendocrine Cancer Awareness Network.

Stomach Cancer Awareness Month began as a campaign by No Stomach for Cancer in 2010, the same year the Senate passed a resolution making November the designated month.

The American Cancer Society estimates that over 27,000 new cases of stomach cancer—also known as gastric cancer—are diagnosed annually, and attributes around 11,000 deaths each year to the disease. Rates in the U.S. have been decreasing since their peak in the late 1970s and early ’80s. See Cancer Health’s Stomach Cancer Basics and news and information about stomach cancer. Learn more about the stomach cancer community from No Stomach for Cancer and the Gastric Cancer Foundation.