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February's crucial campaigns

February is a short but busy month in the world of health, with many campaigns the pharmacy team can get involved in.

World Cancer Day 

The 24th World Cancer Day takes place on 4 February. The annual campaign, an initiative of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), seeks to raise awareness for the disease and the inequities many who are diagnosed, those who are diagnosed too late, or those who are never diagnosed, experience. Across the globe, many factors contribute to one’s experience with the disease including location, gender, income, disability, age and race. Many people fit into more than one of these categories, making the inequity they experience amplified. The UICC hence endeavour to raise awareness to combat this inequity, to “[build] a future where every person, everywhere, can access quality cancer care”. Despite the UK’s standing as a highincome country with a good history of cancer planning, cancer care is still not where it should be. This is mainly due to social, economic, and environmental inequities which exist across the UK. Things like access to quality health care, exposure to risk factors or knowledge of carcinogens can directly impact the number of cancer cases in an area. World Cancer Day’s prerogative is to shed light on these inequities present at every level of the cancer pathway – from preventative measures to treatment – and to make sure change at a Governmental level is put in place to remedy them. 

World Cancer Day in the pharmacy 

Raising awareness is the imperative of World Cancer Day. Pharmacies are in a perfect position to aid this initiative, by drawing attention to the campaign in their stores and through conversation with customers. The website at: has excellent resources which can be used to create displays and spark discussion in the pharmacy, including posters, fact sheets, info graphics and ‘how to’ guides for fundraising, getting people talking, posting on social media or even organising an event. The website is also an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to learn more about the UICC and cancer inequity. Additionally, pharmacy teams can raise awareness simply through conversation, perhaps by reminding customers to go for their mammogram or by warning them against smoking.

Rare Disease Day

On February’s rarest day, the 29, Rare Disease Day asks the public to think of those living with diseases that affect fewer than one in 2,000 people. People living with rare diseases experience many challenges due to lack of knowledge, misdiagnosis, delay in diagnosis and heavy social and/or financial burdens on patients because of an inability to access care or This year, the #LightUpForRare campaign encourages people worldwide to participate in the day’s events, by forming part of a global chain of lights. Pharmacy teams can encourage customers to participate by decorating their homes with lights or decorations in the Rare Disease Day colours at 7pm in each country’s local time. Throughout the month, pharmacies can take the opportunity to advocate for rare diseases to be considered a human rights priority and for the need to achieve equitable access to care, to diagnosis and to social opportunity. There are plenty of resources to choose from at: which pharmacy teams can put up and inform customers to make use of, too. 


UK eating disorder charity, Beat, estimates that around 1.25 million people in the UK have an eating disorder. Eating disorders can affect people regardless of age, gender, race, or ethnicity. During Eating Disorder Awareness Week (EDAW) from 25 February to 2 March, Beat hopes to achieve the following:

  • Let those who are battling with a disorder know they are not alone
  • Encourage those feeling alone to reach out for help
  • Provide a platform for individuals to share their stories
  • Educate people on the complexities of eating disorders
  • Reduce the stigma associated with eating disorders. 

Pharmacies can show their support for the campaign by creating a display for #EDAW, signifying that the pharmacy is a safe and supportive space. Pharmacies may be the first place some customers reach out to for help, and so it is important for the whole team to be aware of the different types of eating disorders and how to guide and support customers if necessary.

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