World Cancer Day 2018
Every now and then people need a nudge; a reminder that puts things into perspective.
It’s why charities and health organisations create specific days to raise awareness and get people to think about their health and wellbeing in the workplace and at home.
World Cancer Day is one of those days, so we thought we’d look at why it’s important and how it can help people living with cancer.
What is World Cancer Day?
On the 4th of February, the world comes together to raise awareness of the fight against the biggest killer worldwide.
Donations to cancer research charities have helped double survival rates in the last 40 years and fight against over 200 cancer types.
With awareness and education, the hope is that this is only the start.
Cancer Statistics for the UK*
New cases of cancer: 359,960
Deaths from cancer: 163,444
Survival rate for 10 or more years: 50%
Preventable cases of cancer, UK: 42%
Key signs and symptoms of cancer
While it’s more common in people aged 50 or over, anyone can develop cancer.
It’s important to know your body and tell your doctor if you notice any changes which aren’t normal for you.
If you spot something new or different, don’t put it down to getting older or an existing health condition, it’s always best to play safe and see your doctor.
Symptoms can seem innocent enough, like breathlessness, a croaky voice, persistent bloating or loss of appetite. While any of these could be due to something far less serious than cancer, you should still get them checked out.
Far better finding out that it’s a simple infection than running the risk of something being missed. Especially since spotting cancer early means treatment is more likely to be successful.
You can find a full list of possible cancer symptoms at Cancer Research UK.
Screening for cancer
Cancer screening involves testing apparently healthy people for signs of the disease.
It can save lives by finding cancers at an early stage or even preventing them. Screening is not the same as the tests a person may have when doctors are diagnosing or treating cancer.
The UK has 3 cancer screening programmes;
1. Bowel cancer screening
2. Breast cancer screening
3. Cervical cancer screening
There is no screening programme for prostate cancer because the PSA test is not reliable enough, but men over 50 can have the test if they ask for it.
Treatment for cancer
Any treatment will depend on where the cancer is, how big it is, whether it has spread, and an individual’s general health.
There are different types of treatment available. Understanding the treatment and its side effects can help people to cope.
Surgery is one of the main treatments for many types of cancer. This involves removing tissue from the body and could involve a local or general anaesthetic, depending on the circumstances.
Chemotherapy is anti-cancer drug treatment. It can be administered through pills or injections and works by killing cancer cells and has different effects on different types of cancer.
Around 4 out of 10 people with cancer (40%) have radiotherapy as part of their treatment. It uses radiation to kill cancer cells and can be administered externally or internally.
Some cancer drugs can be taken as tablets, suppositories, or patches. Drugs which are given by an injection usually work very quickly. Sometimes a combination of will need to be used.
Causes of cancer and reducing your risk
4 in 10 UK cancer cases could be prevented, largely through lifestyle changes.
Many people believe that getting cancer is purely down to genes, fate or bad luck. But scientific research shows that the risk actually depends on a combination of genes, environment and lifestyle choices.
There are a lot easier to control, and a few simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
Smoking is the most important preventable cause of cancer in the world. If you smoke, giving up completely is the best thing you can do for your health.
Obesity and weight
Obesity is the second-biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Simply sticking to a few small changes can help to keep weight off for good.
The less alcohol you drink, the lower the risk of cancer. Alcohol causes 7 types of cancer, including breast, mouth, and bowel cancers.
Diet and healthy eating
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can play an important role in reducing your risk of cancer. Healthier diets could help prevent 1 in 10 cancers.
Need some help and advice? Here are 4 tips for healthy eating in the workplace and a 2018 guide to healthy eating.
Sun and UV
Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin cancer. When the sun is strong, spend time in the shade, cover up with clothing and use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and 4 stars.
Cancer touches everyone’s lives at some point. Days like World Cancer Day 2018 have helped to raise the awareness of the small changes people could make to lessen the risk of being diagnosed.
When employees are affected by cancer, occupational health services can provide help and support at a difficult time.
If you’d like to find out more, contact the specialist team at Fusion today.