Cancer - key questions answered
06 February 2015 09:37
Key questions on cancer answered
Want to increase your knowledge of cancer - its risk factors, symptoms and more? Want to better understand the report from Cancer Research UK that one in two people will develop cancer at some point in their lives?
Cancer and lifetime risk explained
Lifetime risk is how much of a chance you have of developing cancer during your life. It is normally used for large groups of people rather than individuals, for establishing the risk of the nation overall. I.e. the latest statistic that one in two people will develop cancer during their life.
Has the risk jumped markedly?
Not at all. Fresh calculation techniques were used to arrive at the new stats. Earlier ones under-estimated such risks. Lifetime risk stands at 50% for people with 1960s birth dates compared to about 33% for those with 1930s ones. But this is to be expected as life expectancies and other factors increase.
What's behind this increase?
The fact people are living longer. If the number of people living until later increases, then the number of people developing cancer will also rise. More people = greater likelihood of the disease.
Are lifestyle changes responsible?
Definitely. Red meat and processed meat are linked to bowel cancer, with around one in five cases linked to eating the types of meat. Skin cancer is also linked to people's desire to have a tan - whether spending too long in the sun or using sunbeds. Smoking and drinking are linked to bladder cancer.
What are cancer's tell-tale signs?
The many things you should look out for include:
moles changing in colour, shape or size
mystery pains which persist for over a month
blood coughed up
severe nightly sweats
mystery weight loss
a hoarse voice/cough that persists
blood in the urine
difficulties passing urine
Is cancer preventable?
Making changes to the way you live can lower your chance of developing cancer. As many as 40% of cancers can be prevented through making lifestyle changes, according to research. However, there are also genetic factors to consider when it comes to establishing a person's risk.
Lifestyle changes include:
maintaining an acceptable body weight
reducing alcohol consumption
using sun block
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