World Cancer Day – spot the signs to fight against cancer
February 4 2018 marked World Cancer Day, the one singular initiative under which the entire world can unite together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic. The awareness day’s aim is to save millions of preventable deaths by means of education and awareness about cancer.
Early detection can greatly increase survival rates. Plutus Health CEO Martin Ricketts shares his thoughts on how to monitor your health effectively, recognise abnormalities, and take the practical steps necessary if you are concerned for your health.
According to Macmillan Cancer Care, there are approximately 356,630 new cases of cancer diagnosed each year in the UK. That’s 6,840 new cases per week. Worldwide however, 14 million new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year.
The statistics are scary, particularly when considering that worldwide approximately half of the people newly diagnosed each year eventually lose their battle against cancer. It is these kind of figures that emphasise the importance of early diagnosis, when cancer is in its infancy and much easier, in general, to treat effectively.
It is this reason then that World Cancer Day on February 4 2018 marked such an important day in the health awareness calendar, as people all over the world recognise the need for greater education and awareness about this horrible disease.
So how can we help ourselves when it comes to early diagnosis? Much of the symptoms for cancer that can be spotted ourselves come from noticing changes to our body or overall health. Firstly, age is a key consideration. Anybody can develop cancer, however, as we get older it becomes more common. As we age, we get to grips with how our body works as individuals, for instance foods we can’t digest or activities that trigger headaches.
It is this type of understanding that we must apply when noticing more significant changes that could point towards early diagnosis of cancer. Have you lost weight or gone off food? Do you have a change in bowel movements, or have you noticed a new mole on your skin that wasn’t there last month? Can you feel a lump underneath your skin? Stay tuned in to these types of changes to be proactive in spotting possible signs of cancer.
Of course, these signs don’t necessarily mean you have cancer, but nonetheless it is worthwhile booking an appointment with your GP to discuss what the changes might mean long-term.
Aside from being vigilant to changes in our body, there are other proactive steps we can take to help look after our health generally, which research shows can decrease our chances of getting certain forms of cancer. Eating healthily seems obvious, but it works!
What’s more, studies have indicated that eating certain foods can help improve the body’s natural defences against cancer. Garlic is one of these foods, due to it containing sulphur it can help reduce tumour growth. Another is citrus fruits, having a daily dose could cut the risk of mouth, throat, and stomach cancer by half.
Finally, another way of maintaining good health is to stay active, as research indicates that regular exercise can reduce your risk of cancer. Through staying active it can also help you lose weight, a win-win! Simple changes such as standing while talking on the phone instead of sitting or even parking a little further away from where you want to go can help greatly!
The reality of cancer is that none of us can be fully prepared for potentially getting the disease. But, we can’t live life in fear of this. So while taking proactive steps to stay healthy could potentially decrease your risk of getting cancer, it’s also great practice in life generally. Most importantly, however, take time to listen to your body and check for abnormalities – note down those changes and monitor closely, acting upon them quickly if you can.