We will beat it
It is estimated that One in two people will get some form of cancer during their lifetime, which means that all of us are likely to, in some way, be affected by the disease.
Thankfully, breakthroughs in medicine are happening everyday, improving survival rates across the world. Here, Dr. Jan. Schaefer, Chief Medical Officer at MEDIGO, the leading platform for booking safe medical travel, talks us through five reasons why we should be celebrating this World Cancer Day.
1. We know the main risk factors
Everyday, doctors and scientists around the world are discovering more about the human body and the diseases that affect it. For example, we now know that there are certain lifestyle choices that can increase our risks of developing cancer. While genes also play a significant role, not smoking, leading an active lifestyle and eating a well-balanced diet have all been found to decrease our risks of developing the disease.
2. Survival rates are improving
Cancer survival rates have been improving steadily for about 30 years, albeit unevenly among different forms of cancer. In the UK, for example, cancer survival rates have doubled since the 70s, largely because of wider access to screening tests, new treatments, and better awareness of a range of health risks such as smoking and obesity.
3. It’s being caught early
Some examples of screening tests include widespread breast screening for women, catching breast cancer in its early stages. Cancer Research UK states that 78% of those who experience breast cancer survive for 10 or more years after treatment, and the overall survival rates for the disease has doubled in the past forty years. Colonoscopies have a dual-benefit of also identifying early-stage colorectal cancer and even avoiding cancer altogether by identifying pre-cancerous growths called polyps.
4. It’s being prevented
Preventive measures include the HPV Vaccine, which has been revolutionary for cervical cancer, and even proper food preparation, which has been shown to remove bacteria that can increase the likelihood of stomach cancer. As mentioned above, increased awareness is also encouraging people to lead healthier lifestyles – a major factor when it comes to lowering cancer risk.
5. New treatments are being developed all the time
There are over 200 forms of cancer, and each patient has different circumstances, so treatments methods are always tailored to a patient’s individual needs. The most common cancer treatments are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. And these well-known methods are now joined by newer treatments like immunotherapy and targeted therapies.
As scientists continue to make progress against cancer, side effects from treatments become more manageable. And when a patient doesn’t react positively to one course of treatment treatment, there are now many other treatment options available for patients to keep cancer at bay.