How much does the Big C impact upon your life?
This week to coincide with MacMillan week I gave a talk focusing on Informing about & Preventing Cancer and here is a summary of the key points that I spoke about.
All of the first information is taken from the Cancer Research UK website and unfortunately some of the statistics are of a sobering nature. However as you read on you will see there is hope and the good news is we are not victims and although as they say ‘cancer doesn’t care’ if you do, you will see there is an awful lot you can do to protect yourself.
Firstly I want to say I’m not an expert in Cancer prevention but my training and experiences of 38 years in practice have provided me with information & stories that will form the basis of this blog.
For the record my mother & sister both died young from the disease, 62 & 48 so I like most of you have been ‘touched’ and will undoubtedly continue to be so for the rest of my life.
Ok let’s go!
1 in 2 people born after 1960 in the UK will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetime!!
However the good news is that Cancer survival rates have doubled during the last 40 years so that of that 50%, half will now survive compared to only a quarter 40 years ago. Unfortunately those statistics are not as favourable for women as they are for men.
Many people believe that getting cancer is purely down to genes, fate or bad luck, but through scientific research, we know that our risk actually depends on a combination of our genes, our environment and things to do with our lifestyle, which we’re more able to control. In fact it is estimated that only 2-3% of cancers are linked to faulty genes. Your genes also respond favourably to lifestyle changes so don’t be over concerned about your genetic makeup, even if it is not so favourable.
***An important fact that I think you need to be aware of is that if you are a post-menopausal woman and you are obese, unfortunately you have a 30% risk of developing Cancer***. However, you do have the power to do something to help reduce that risk.
Now for some good news:- Experts estimate that more than 4 in 10 cancer cases could be prevented, largely through lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking & drinking alcohol, weight management, increasing exercise and eating more fruits and vegetables.
Personally I believe that figure to be much higher and prevention is probably 90% in our hands especially when you factor in Stress into the equation. Interestingly stress and cancer are not mentioned as I guess it’s hard to provide the research data that links the two. When I asked my audience what they perceived to be the major cause of Cancer, to a man (woman!) they said “stress”!! (not smoking which it statistically is!). A recent study worked out that those lifestyle changes would increase one’s life expectancy by 14 years. That’s not bad is it?
So get yourself a health consciousness and you will be providing your body with plenty to defend itself.
On a final note I’d like to talk a little about stress. As I said there is not much evidence connecting stress & cancer. However it has been proven that a healthy mental attitude can reduce the risk of illnesses and improve recover rates and vice versa. In my mind there is a connection as a lot of cancers arise after people have experienced stressful episodes in their lives. Whatever your view I know that relaxation, meditation, contentment, calmness, love, appreciation and optimism will improve your health and thus help with all illness prevention.