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As one of the leading causes of death in the world, cancer has been wreaking havoc on humans for centuries. But now is the time to fight back in honor of Stand Up to Cancer Day!

History of Stand Up to Cancer Day

Sadly, cancer is a disease that has existed for several thousand years. Although it might have been around since the beginning of human history, the first documented case comes from ancient Egypt. The case is written about on a papyrus from 1500 BC and describes a woman with a breast tumor that was probably cancerous.

As medicine continues to evolve in the modern era, finding a cure for various types of cancer has often been a topic of research. As treatments continue to advance, such as radiology, chemotherapy, immunology and more, the hope for those who have cancer continues to improve.

Much research has gone into the work of understanding what causes various type of cancer, as well as learning about early diagnosis markers so that people can act preventatively. This includes campaigns to reduce lung cancer by encouraging people to quit smoking, reducing breast cancer with mammogram screenings, and catching colon cancer early by promoting early colonoscopies.

But the only way that scientists and the medical community can continue their research is if they have the financial backing to do it. And that’s where Stand Up to Cancer Day comes in.

In 2007, the Stand Up to Cancer organization was formed by several women whose lives had been affected by cancer. One of the most well-known of the founders is Katie Couric from NBC’s Today Show whose husband died of colon cancer in 1998.

By 2021, Stand Up to Cancer had raised more than $746 million for cancer research, and that number continues to grow. Not only has it raised money, but it has brought together more than 2,000 for the world’s best scientists. The purpose is for these scientists and professionals to collaborate together in an effort to end cancer’s place as the leading cause of death worldwide.

Stand Up to Cancer Day Timeline

1500 BC

First documented cancer case 

Written about on papyrus documents in ancient Egypt, this case refers to a tumor in the breast.[1]


First use of radiation 

Radium is used by S.W. Goldberg and Efim London to eradicate cancer in two patients with basal cell carcinoma.[2]


American Cancer Society is founded 

Five doctors and ten laypeople in New York city work together to create the American Society for the Control of Cancer.[3]


Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) begins 

Katie Couric and several other women begin the Stand Up to Cancer charity, joining the media together to raise funds in the US.[4]


Stand Up to Cancer launches in the UK 

Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK work together to launch an annual British version of Stand Up to Cancer.[5]

How to Celebrate Stand Up to Cancer Day

Looking for ways to get involved in honor of Stand Up to Cancer Day? Try out some of these ideas to get started:

Watch the SU2C Show

For one night of each year, the Stand Up to Cancer team gets together to put on a live, televised event that includes a star-studded lineup with special guests, co-hosts, musicians and more. Famous names in the past have included Stevie Wonder, Reese Witherspoon, Bradley Cooper, Ciara, Jennifer Garner and many others.

The collaboration between four major American networks that are normally competitive makes this a unique show that includes NBC, CBS, Fox and ABC. Other sponsors include HBO, Hulu, TikTok, Showtime, YouTube and more.

Host a SU2C Viewing Party

Don’t just watch the Stand Up to Cancer show on your own – invite some friends over, put out some snacks and turn it into a viewing party. It’s a great way to raise awareness for the fight against cancer. In addition to enjoying the show and some time together, afterwards find some opportunities to help the cause by signing up to volunteer with a worthy organization.

Make a Donation to a Cancer Charity

One great way to celebrate Stand Up to Cancer Day is by donating money to the cause of finding a cure. When everyone gives just a little bit, the combined total can mean a huge difference in the types of treatments, preventions and cures that can be discovered through medicine and science.

Consider making a donation to one of these charitable organizations that is fighting against cancer:

  • Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C). The organization that started this day, SU2C funds research efforts to wipe out cancer as a leading cause of death in the world. Because of the support of underwriters, 100% of the finances that are donated to the organization are used to fund cancer directly.
  • American Cancer Society. This organization is dedicated to helping people who have cancer, including patient services, cancer research, education and treatment.
  • Cancer Research Institute. Dedicated to finding revolutionary breakthroughs to cure all kinds of cancer, this organization is specifically about research in cancer immunology research.

Become a Stand Up to Cancer Advocate

Speaking up for those who are not able, SU2C advocates ensure that the needs of the patients are always at the forefront. Helping the cancer community to navigate this road that is often difficult, advocates bridge the gap between medical research and the human elements of cancer. Check the Stand Up to Cancer website to get more information about training and to sign up.

Raise Awareness about Stand Up to Cancer

In addition to participating in Stand Up to Cancer events and activities, don’t forget to spread the word about it with friends, family members, coworkers and neighbors. The more people hear, the more opportunities they have to give to the cause and participate in standing up and finding prevention and cures for cancer.

Volunteer to Support Cancer Patients Locally

Many different organizations offer types of practical help that cancer patients may need. In addition to medical care from doctors and hospitals, cancer patients often also need support for their communities. This can include delivering meals, driving patients to and from appointments, offering emotional support or counseling, providing housing or lodging when away from home while getting treatment, and a variety of other needs.
Other services that might be needed may include advocacy with financial institutions, legal aid, government support, social workers and more. One organization that helps to coordinate practical support, volunteers and care for cancer patients is Cancer Care.

Stand Up to Cancer Day FAQs

Is cancer genetic?

While cancer is fairly common, only 5-10% of cancers are inherited from parents.[1]

Does cancer cause fever?

As cancer grows in the body, it can cause symptoms like fever, fatigue, and weight loss.[2]

Is cancer a disease?

Yes, cancer is a disease that causes cells to divide uncontrollably and spread out into the tissues that surround it.[3]

What does Stand Up to Cancer do?

Stand Up to Cancer is a charity that funds and develops the newest in cancer treatments.[4]

Who started Stand Up to Cancer?

Stand Up to Cancer is a charity that was started by a group of women who had been affected by cancer, including Katie Couric of NBC.[5]

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