So much has changed in the realm of Cancer since the 1960s. It is no longer a taboo word, referred to as ‘the big C’, mainly because survival rates have doubled and a diagnosis is not inevitably a life-ending one. Additionally, awareness of cancer risks has improved - most notably the danger from smoking and there have been major improvements in diagnosis and treatment. Cancer research continues to be a main therapeutic focus area, with thousands of clinical trials being conducted globally across the wide range of cancers.
All of this is just as well, because more and more of us are going to get cancer. For a long time it used to be that one in three of us would get cancer, but this has risen to four in 10, according to the charity Macmillan Cancer Support who estimates that 42% of people will have had a cancer diagnosis by the time of their death. Of these, 64% will die from cancer.
The estimates are based on a study published two years ago in the British Journal of Cancer. That study estimated two million people in the UK had a cancer diagnosis and this was rising steadily by around 3% a year. Macmillan says if this rate of increase continues then four million people could be living with cancer by 2030.
Cancer Research UK (CRUK) says the main reason is longevity; more people are living longer, therefore more people are getting cancer - because age is the single most important risk factor.
Another factor is improved diagnosis which means more people are getting their cancer spotted early. Improved detection of prostate cancer is one example of this.
Lifestyle factors also play a significant role. CRUK reckons that up to half of all cancers could be prevented. Dwarfing all other lifestyle choices, is avoiding smoking. Obesity, lack of fitness, poor diet and repeated over-exposure to the sun are among other factors. So hearing the news today that four in 10 of us will get cancer at some point is not an excuse for ignoring our health.
Full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14145773
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