Huge advances have been made in cancer care, diagnosis, treatment and understanding over the past ten years but there's still a way to go.
In 2018, 18 million people worldwide were diagnosed with cancer. Today, thanks to research, 2 in 4 people in the UK survive for 10 years or more.
This year World Cancer Day looks at ways to 'Close the care gap' so that we can all help reduce the global impact of this terrible disease.
2022 is part of the three-year strategy and it's all about understanding and recognising the inequities in cancer care around the world.
These can be in:
- Access to care
- And many more.
To play our part in 'closing the care gap', we look at some of the most common causes of cancer and what we can do to educate ourselves to prevent them.
Being overweight or obese
According to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), excess weight has been linked to an increased risk of developing 12 different cancers, including bowel and pancreatic cancers. In general, greater weight gain, particularly as adults, is associated with greater cancer risks.
Action: Lose weight by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Start by making small changes and as you start to see results you'll be encouraged to make healthy choices.
Smoking causes at least 15 different types of cancer. And tobacco is the biggest cause of cancer in the world. The more a person smokes, the younger they start, and the longer they keep smoking, all further increase the risk of cancer. Currently, tobacco use is responsible for around 22% of all cancer deaths.
Action: Quit smoking. There are many different methods to help you quit, start by visiting your doctor for advice.
Diet and Nutrition
What we eat contributes to what we weigh and as obesity is the cause of 13 different types of cancer, having a healthy diet is crucial. Further to this the types of food we eat can also be contributing factors to cancer risk.
Diets high in red meats, processed foods and salt, can have a negative effect on colorectum, nasopharynx and stomach cancers.
It may also surprise you to learn that in the scientific articles of Michael S Donaldson. Nutrition and cancer: A review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet it was concluded that between 30 and 40% of all cancers can be prevented by lifestyle and diet.
Action: Embark on a healthy diet, eating fresh unprocessed foods where possible. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables to avoid hunger and energy loss.
Regular activity not only helps to reduce excess body fat and the cancer risks associated with this but being physically active can help to reduce the risks of developing colon, breast and endometrial cancers.
Scientists are still discovering why this may be the case but one thought is that by being active you can give your immune system a boost, which makes it work more effectively.
This means the body gets better at spotting cells which could go on to become cancer. It can then remove these cells before they cause harm.
Action: Do more exercise, park further away in the car park, take the stairs, go for a walk, whatever you do to increase your activity will help.
Infectious agents are responsible for over 2 million deaths per year. The virus can cause changes in cells that make them more likely to become cancerous.
Around 70% of cervical cancers are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections, while liver cancer and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma can be caused by the Hepatitis B and C virus, and lymphomas are linked to the Epstein-Barr virus.
Action: Make vaccines available to everyone where available.
Eating a healthy diet and losing weight sounds great but it's often not as easy in practice. Incorporating enough healthy foods and vegetables into our lifestyle can be tricky in todays world.
Juicing raw vegetables, and particularly green vegetables, is an easy and effective way to achieve this.
Some foods are particularly helpful to juice as they contain a very high level of chlorophyll and other nutrients. These are the foods we call superfoods and wheatgrass juice is a primary example.