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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Cancer Awareness Campaigns Are Working

by
Sharat
on
Mar 14 2015
Cancer Awareness Campaigns Are Working

According to the latest research published in the British Journal of Cancer, awareness campaigns have improved the general public’s knowledge of bowel and lung cancer symptoms. The increased knowledge has directly resulted in a rise in the number of people seeking doctor’s advice.

It has been more than six years since the National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative (NAEDI) was established to help improve cancer survival rates in the United Kingdom. The latest research suggests that the “Be Clear on Cancer” campaign produced:

  • An increase of 27 to 42 per cent of people who understood that blood in their poo could be a symptom of bowel cancer.
  • The number of people who understood that having a hoarse throat or a cough could possibly signal lung cancer increased from 41 to 50 per cent.
  • Doctor’s visits for bowel cancer symptoms increased by 29 per cent.
  • Doctor’s visits for lung cancer symptoms rose by 63 per cent.

Earlier breast cancer diagnosis could delay death

The results from this national campaign to raise awareness for bowel and lung cancer were just one of the topics that were included in this issue of the British Journal of Cancer. Other researchers were studying the mortality rate from breast cancer in elderly women which may have been delayed had they had their disease diagnosed at an earlier stage. What they found was that approximately 280 deaths from breast cancer could have been delayed by over five years for women aged over 75 in the UK if they were diagnosed earlier.

Melanoma prognosis could be improved

Researchers also studied the number of deaths from melanoma that could have been delayed had the diagnosis stage been the same for both women and men and if there was no difference between income groups. The study results shows that 215 deaths from melanoma could have been delayed in the UK by at least five years if men and women from all economic groups had the same amount of success in diagnosing the disease. The complete publication of all the papers focused on early cancer diagnosis came in advance of an Early Diagnosis Summit that will be held soon.

Image Courtesy of Cancer Research UK

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One In Two People In The UK To Develop Cancer

by
Sharat
on
Feb 28 2015
One In Two People In The UK To Develop Cancer

Cancer Research UK is forecasting that one in two people in the UK will develop cancer at some point in their lives. The research was recently published in the British Journal of Cancer and the new data highlights the urgent need to boost the NHS cancer services so it has the ability to cope with a population that is both growing and ageing. This means there is looming demand for improved diagnostics, earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Survival rates have doubled

Largely as a result of research, cancer survival rates have doubled in the UK over the last 40 years and nearly 50 per cent of patients now survive the disease for more than a decade. However as a larger number of people benefit from longer life expectancy and better healthcare, it is expected that the number of cancer cases will inevitably increase. The new research estimates that lifetime risk will now be 1 in 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer.

Age the biggest risk factor

The latest estimate replaces a previous one which was calculated using a different technique and predicted more than 1 in 3 would develop cancer at some point in their lives. The biggest risk factor for most cancers is age and the increase in risk is largely because people are simply living longer when cancer becomes more common.

According to the author of the study Professor Peter Sasieni of Queen Mary University of London:

“Cancer is primarily a disease of old age, with more than 60 per cent of all cases diagnosed in people aged over 65. If people live long enough then most will get cancer at some point. But there’s a lot we can do to make it less likely – like giving up smoking, being more active, drinking less alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight. If we want to reduce the risk of developing the disease we must redouble our efforts and take action now to better prevent the disease for future generations.”

The NHS needs to plan for the future

Harpal Kumar who is the chief executive of Cancer Research adds that because we are living longer we are more likely to develop a number of diseases that are simply age related. This means there is a need to plan for the future to ensure that the NHS is able to cope. If the NHS fails to act and invest now, there will be a future crisis with outcomes from cancer regressing.

Image Courtesy of Cancer Research

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Cancer Research UK Says We Need To Encourage Healthier Lifestyles

by
Sharat
on
Dec 30 2014
Cancer Research UK Says We Need To Encourage Healthier Lifestyles

According to the results of a new study published in The Lancet Oncology an astonishing 418,000 new cancers globally were the result of an expanding waistline. The vast majority of these cases occurred in developed countries which have been plagued with an epidemic of obesity to which there is no end in sight.

Obesity related cancers could easily swell

The study was conducted by Dr. Melinda Arnold from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, and found that 64 per cent of obesity related cancers were diagnosed in Europe and North America. If nothing is done to combat the growing problem of obesity, the researchers are warning that the future burden of such types of cancer could easily swell.

Women more at risk than men

The results come from data collected from over 184 countries, including the agencies own internal database known as GLOBOCAN. Tom Stansfeld of Cancer Research UK says according to the study’s results, 4.4 per cent of cancer in UK males could be attributed to high BMI. The situation for women in the UK was much worse with 8.2 per cent of all cancer cases linked to a high BMI.

Fatty tissue is the culprit

The differences seen between genders in the UK was largely replicated around the world, which the researchers think is mainly due to post menopausal and endometrial breast cancers. Obesity can be linked to a variety of other cancers and the additional risk is in response to the fatty tissue in the body producing extra hormones which impact the way cells work.

Most cases of obesity related cancer in North America

Obesity related cancers were most prevalent in North America which recorded 111,000 cases or nearly 23 per cent of new obesity related cancers globally. In last place was sub-Saharan Africa which contributed just 7,300 cases. Of the total number of European cancer cases that could be attributed to a high BMI, Eastern Europe accounted for just over a third, or 66,000 cases.

Obesity is a challenge

Dr. Arnold says the result emphasised the need to deal with the challenge posed by obesity. Obesity in adults has nearly doubled since 1980. Mr. Stansfeld agrees and said the figures illustrate just how important it is to tackle the problem of obesity which could end up helping to save lives.

“While losing weight is never easy, making lasting changes that you can maintain in the long term is the most effective way to keep a healthy weight. More than 4 in 10 cancers in the UK can be prevented through lifestyle changes like not smoking, drinking less alcohol, keeping a healthy weight and exercising regularly, and enjoying a diet that is high in fruit and veg and low in red and processed meat and salt.” Mr. Stansfeld said.

We need to encourage healthier lifestyles

If we want to protect future generations from unnecessary risks, it is critical that we encourage healthy lifestyles by taking more aggressive action which will make it easier for individuals to opt for healthier choices as opposed to junk food.

Full-Figured Man by Tony Alter, on Flickr

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Cancer Research UK Says Organic Food Does Not Lower Risk Of Cancer

by
Sharat
on
Apr 28 2014
Cancer Research UK Says Organic Food Does Not Lower Risk Of Cancer

According to a new study in the British Journal of Cancer, women who usually eat organic foods are no less likely to develop cancer than woman who follow a more conventional diet.

Cancer Research UK scientists say they could not find any evidence that would suggest a diet that is free from pesticides results in a reduction in the overall risk of a woman developing cancer.

The researchers polled 600,000 women aged 50 or above about whether they consumed organic foods. In addition to that they tracked the development of the 16 most common cancers during a period which lasted nine years following the survey. During that period, as many as 50,000 participants developed cancer.

When the scientists examined the results for the 16 types of cancer they found a reduction in the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma but a small increase in the risk of breast cancer. However it must be stated the results could be the product of chance or other factors.

Pesticides are used extensively in agriculture and concerns have been raised that their use could result in an increase in the risk of developing cancer. Until now however the evidence has not been strong enough to provide concrete answers. Conventionally grown fruit and vegetables do contain tiny amounts of pesticides but so far there has been no evidence that it increases the risk of cancer.

Dr Claire Knight, Cancer Research UK’s health information manager, says the results of the study adds to evidence that organic food consumption does not mean a lower risk of cancer. For those people who are concerned about pesticide residue on their fruit and vegetable, the best thing they can do is wash before eating.

“Scientists have estimated that over nine per cent of cancer cases in the UK may be linked to dietary factors, of which almost five per cent are linked to not eating enough fruit and vegetables. So eating a well-balanced diet which is high in fruit and vegetables – whether conventionally grown or not – can help reduce your cancer risk.”

Image courtesy of Cancer Research UK

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Smoking Rate In England Drops To 80 Year Low

by
Sharat
on
Feb 21 2014
news preventions moking

According to a new study by scientists from University College London shows the number of people who smoke cigarettes in England has dropped to its lowest level in nearly 80 years.

The data comes from a national study that has been surveying the smoking habits of people in England going back to 2006.

According to the study’s results in 2013 less than 20 per cent of adults were smokers. It’s very encouraging to see this snapshot of the number of smokers in England. Reassuringly, the figures are going down but it’s vital to remember the many millions of people who remain addicted to a lethal product. Half of all long-term users will die from smoking.” Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s head of tobacco policy, said.

Last year over 22,000 people over the age of 16 were polled and the percentage of smokers found was less than 20 per cent.

In the 20th century, there was a rapid increase in smoking rates which peaked just before the publication of a report which linked smoking and lung cancer in 1962. At that point nearly 70 per cent of males and 40 per cent of females were smokers.

The new data was published during the same week that legislation was passed in the UK to allow the introduction of plain standardized packaging.

“Reducing the numbers who smoke and the number of young people who start smoking must remain a focus. Plain, standardised packaging is key to protecting children from tobacco marketing. This week’s votes in parliament showed unprecedented support for tobacco control measures that will protect children from tobacco marketing and from second hand smoke. We urge the government to take the next steps to make standard packaging a reality as soon as possible.” Ms. Cox added

Smoking tobacco causes an estimated 60,000 cases of cancer in the UK each year and is responsible for approximately one in four cancer deaths in the UK.

Image courtesy of Cancer Research UK

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Eight Out Of Ten Kids Now Survive Cancer

by
Sharat
on
Dec 7 2013
cancer_250x250_scaled_cropp

Some good news from Cancer Research UK, apparently the number of kids with cancer who survive has increased to over 8 out of 10 compared with just 3 out of 10 in the 1960’s/

In the last ten years the number of kids with cancer who survive five years or more has risen to 82 per cent from 79 per cent, which is a clear improvement.

The reason for the success is improved treatment which now combines a number of different chemotherapy drugs. The role of Cancer Research has been critical in providing clinical trials that has proven the fact that combined treatments can be successful.

The data suggests that children with all types of cancer have increased life expectancy those with bone and liver cancer have made particularly good progress of late. Over the last ten years survival rates for child patients with liver tumours leapt from 67 per cent to 82 per cent whilst patients with bone cancer saw a survival rate increase from 61 per cent to 68 per cent.

Still A Long Way To Go

Whilst more children are surviving for longer as a result of the research there is still a long way to go and it is important to discover kinder and better treatments for this terrible disease.

For many kinds the simple fact of surviving does not mean they are free of the disease. Even after three decades of diagnosis as many as 40 per cent of patients were at risk of sever or life threatening conditions or had died. There is still a need to find better treatments that comes with fewer side effects.

For many children, surviving does not mean that they are completely free of illness. Even 30 years after their diagnosis, 40 per cent of survivors were affected by severe or life-threatening conditions, or had died due to a chronic health condition3. There is still an urgent need to discover better treatments with fewer side effects.

“Cancer Research UK has been at the forefront of research into new treatments for childhood cancers. Although more than eight in 10 children with cancer now survive their disease for more than five years more work is needed to discover better treatments. As more and more children survive cancer, it is especially important that we concentrate on improving the quality of life after cancer.” Professor Pam Kearns, director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trial’s Unit in Birmingham, said

Image Courtesy of Cancer Research UK

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Cancer Research Concern at Sunbed Use

by
alister
on
Feb 1 2013
Teenagers Still at Risk from Sunbeds

Cancer Research charity officials are growing increasingly concerned that under age girls are still determined to use sunbeds, no matter the consequences. New studies report that many girls under 18 are still regularly using sunbeds, even though they are actually breaking the law.

The study found that many 15-18 year old girls are still willing to risk their health, even though they know the risks of using a sunbed. Many think that a tan not only makes them feel confident, but also that they feel healthier with a glow.

Sundbeds were made illegal for under 18’s in 2011, a year after a Cancer Research study showed more than 250,000 children aged between 11 and 17 in England were regularly using sunbeds. Tanning salons are now required to ask for identification from people when booking a course, but not all staff are stringent in their supervision.

Head of the study, Dr Jeffrey Lake, said –

The research shows us that the desire for tanned skin in young people is blinding them to the potential long-term health risks associated with regularly using sunbeds. We’re finding that their worries are cosmetic when they should really be thinking about the unseen damage they’re inflicting on themselves.

This report comes just a week before Cancer Research relaunch their ‘R UV UGLY?’ campaign, which will see people offered free scans at skin clinics around the country. These will be able to show people the hidden damage beneath the skin’s surface through overexposure to UV sunbeams, and of course the sun; the biggest sunbed in the world!

Co-author of the study, Catherine Thomson, said –

It’s worrying to see that, in some areas of the UK, half of all 15-17 year old girls are using sunbeds on a regular basis. Introducing the legislation banning sunbed use by under 18s was vital to protect younger people from the harmful effects of UV. But proper supervision in salons is essential to combat the determination of teenagers to get round laws that are there for their own protection.

Let’s hope that many people make use of the free skin clinic scans to see how much they may have been affected by UV damage. Tanning salons need to clamp down on under age usage, as a young person’s skin should be not be hammered with UV from an early age. Full ID should be shown and scanned into the system to prove the age of the person booking the course to ensure that nobody is breaking the law. These preventions were put into place for a reason.

If you would like more information on the work of Cancer Research, why not check out our dedicated page where you can purchase an innovative charity gift to help raise funds to aid their live saving work.

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Take the Starlight Hike with Sue Ryder

by
alister
on
Jul 13 2012
Starlight Hike with Sue Ryder

If you’re looking for a totally unique way to raise funds for charity, why not take part in the #Starlight Hike for Sue Ryder? These amazing 10 kilometre hikes will be taking place across the country during September 2012 and are a fantastic way to keep fit. The courses are held in a great selection of beautiful locations across the UK, including –

  • Dundee
  • Leeds
  • Cheltenham
  • Reading
  • Aberdeen
  • Bedford
  • plus many more.

Each course is completely individual, and when taken in the evening under the stars, is sure to be a delight. Before many of the hikes start there is some entertainment and a fun warm up, but remember to bring your torch and some warm clothing!  You even receive a free t-shirt, plus a hot breakfast to warm you up after the your hike.

The money you raise goes a long way to help Sue Ryder to provide long term care to people living with life changing illnesses such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, strokes, brain injuries and many others.

Karen Martin, who was walking for St. Jonh’s Hospice, said –

I am doing the midnight walk this year in memory of my wonderful Dad. Dad spent his last week at Sue Ryder, St John’s. We will always be grateful for the care, respect and support Dad received during this time. The same support was given to the rest of our family and really helped us all through a very difficult time. The nurses and family support staff were amazing, they couldn’t do enough for our family and were always available whenever any of us needed them.

If you are interested in taking part in a Sue Ryder Starlight Hike at one of their beautiful locations in the UK, simply click on the link below to find out more information and the nearest site to you. By taking part, you’ll be spreading an extra bit of Starlight sparkle, and helping to provide much needed funds to aid the amazing work of the Sue Ryder charity.

 

> > Click here for more info on Starlight Hikes

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London to Paris Bike Ride with Merlin

by
alister
on
Apr 4 2012
Merlin Bike Ride to Paris

Do you fancy taking a 4 day bike ride from London to Paris in aid of the Merlin charity between 27 June – 1st July 2012? The journey is designed for people of average fitness, though some training is definitely advisable to prepare for riding on 4 consecutive days.

During the course of the trip you will travel around 300 miles the heart of Paris in 4 days, via the beautiful countryside of Northern France, through the Champs Elysees and finishing at the Eiffel Tower! As part of your trip you will receive –

  • One way ferry crossing from Dover to Calais
  • One way Eurostar ticket from Paris to London
  • All meals during the challenge
  • All accommodation
  • Cycle guides and mechanics

You will also receive two free Merlin T-shirts or vests along with your fundraising pack which included stickers, balloons, and a collection tin! Plus you will begiven handy training advice to ensure you don’t jump in at the deep end and do yourself a mischief!

Please email challengingyou@merlin.org.uk for more information or call 0207 014 1707.

Minimum sponsorship pledge £1650 with a registration fee of £149. 80% of your sponsorship needs to be in by Friday 4th May 2012, so you’ve got exactly a month to get the initial funds together.

So why not take the plunge and join this amazing 4 day cycle to Paris, and help raise much needed funds to aid Marlin’s continued lifesaving work across the globe.

> > Click here to make a donation to Merlin

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Jess Markwood Kenya Cycle for Cancer

by
alister
on
Feb 16 2012
jessmarkwood

One of our Donation4Charity friends has just embarked upon a 400km cycle across Kenya in aid of a selection of different cancer charities. Jess Markwood, who is not just a fitness guru but also an ace poker player, will be keeping us up to date of her amazing journey. So far Jess has raised just under an amazing £5,000, so we asked her a few questions before she headed out into the unknown to complete this epic journey.

Can you tell us a little about what you are doing?
The challenge is called Women V Cancer. I’m cycling 400km (250 miles) over five days across Kenya with a group of 89 other women raising funds for three very deserving women’s cancer charities –

Breast Cancer Care
Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust
Ovarian Cancer Action

A donation will also be made to support cancer care in Kenya. Our route takes us through the Rift Valley, over Mount Kenya, which happens to be the second tallest mountain in Africa. We’ll be cycling on and off road through savannah plains, wildlife game parks, tropical rainforests and traditional villages. The trip has been organised by a fantastic company called Action for Charity.

How much training has been involved?
A LOT! I’ve been in the gym about three times a week for the last 8 months and then taking long bike rides at the weekends, dragging my poor boyfriend all over England! I’m told the fitter I can be the more I’ll enjoy the challenge obviously, although given that before I signed up to this challenge almost two years ago I didn’t do any exercise at all it’s meant a total lifestyle change.

Why have you chosen these charities?
I’ve been touched by cancer a few too many times in my life already; my dad died of the horrid disease when I was just nine years old and a school friend died of leukaemia aged just 11. In the last couple of years I’ve known three female friends who have all battled and survived cancer so it felt only right that I should help to raise much needed funds for three women’s cancer charities.

Jess will be updating her Dollymix blog along the way if you would like to follow her journey, or you could click on the link below to make a donation to this amazing charity challenge. She has already raised an amazing £4,940 of her £5000 target, so just an extra £60 will push her through the breakthrough barrier.

50 miles a day? Phew! We at Donation4Charity will be cheering her on. From our desks. Drinking a cup of tea. With a biscuit! GO JESS!!!!

> > Click here to make a donation

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