Cancer - The Sad Truth


According to the research Department at Cancer Research UK, more than 1 in 3 people alive today will be diagnosed with Cancer in their lifetime, (see also

Within this 1 in 3 women and almost 1 in 2 men can expect to be diagnosed based on current figures. There are around 200 different types of cancer.

Open quotesMore than 1 in 3 people alive today will be diagnosed with Cancer in their lifetimeClose quotes

Over 270,000 people in the UK were diagnosed with cancer in 2001, having risen in 26 years since 1975 by 89,178 (+ 49%).

New Cases Of Cancer

1975 - 181.252
1980 - 199,682
1990 - 234,261
2000 - 263,949
2001 - 270,425

NB - The latest figure however does not include skin cancer because, although 42,000 people registered as having skin cancer in 2001, most people are seen by primary care and do not go into cancer centers and are thus not included in the overall cancer statistics. Skin cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the UK - the figures above do however include 3,000 cases of melanoma.

Growth Of Cancer In UK

If Skin Cancer is included in the figures the growth of cancer in the UK over the last 26 years has been approx +72%. Or just over 3% per annum.

Type Of Cancer

Cancer Research give the following percentages and figures for UK cancers:

Incidence New cases 2001*** Died 2003
Breast 15% 41,000 5,000*
Lung 14% 37,450 33,600
Large bowel 13% 34,539 16,107
Prostate 10% 30,142 10.164
Bladder 4% 10,659 4,928
Stomach 4% 9,104 6,017
Non hod lymp 3% 9,281 4,674
Head and neck 3% 7,820 2,865
Oesophagus 3% 7,475 7,350
Pancreas 3% 6,918
Other** 28%

* This figure is at odds with the 5-year survival rates and other published data eg Government data, which indicate 13,000 is the annual mortality rate from Breast cancer
** Skin cancer is estimated at 42,000 cases and is NOT included in these figures. Within these figures is a total of approximately 3000 Melanoma cases. Other estimates by the relevant charities record Melanoma as 8000.
*** 2001 total: 270,425 excluding skin cancer

Children’s Cancers

Below are six charts of the principle children’s cancers in the UK, showing their growth. The fact is that more young people are developing cancer.

Children’s graphs

Recently, at the First International Conference on Child Leukaemia, theories on the cause included increased radiation from mobile phones, phone masts and power lines.

Another view is that our increasingly sterile lives and food actually prevent our children from developing immunity, so that when the time comes they are less able to resist a major pollutant.

Open quotesChildren who live next to petrol stations apparently have a four-fold leukaemia riskClose quotes

The conference also heard about well-documented clusters around nuclear facilities, and that children who live next to petrol stations apparently have a four-fold leukaemia risk. Is that from the fumes or the increased presence of hidden phone masts?

Professor Alan Preece of the University of Bristol even points to the fact that unborn babies are especially sensitive to pollutants. Research has indicated that car pollution, petrochemicals, heavy metals in petrol, pesticides and other toxins can all cross the placenta.

Frankly these discussions merely show what a complex issue cancer prevention is.

Cancer Cures And 5-Year Survival - Can You Trust The Figures?

Only Childhood leukaemia and testicular cancers can truly be said to be ’curable’.

The National Audit Office, said in its Jan 2004 for England that 5-year survival rates depended upon the cancer but were generally approaching 80%.

However this is most definitely not confirmed by the independent Eurocare 3 study, which looks at 5-year survival rates throughout Europe. For Example:

Breast Cancer (5-year survival rates)

Sweden - 82.6%
France - 81.3%
Holland - 78.2%
Average - 76.1%
England - 73.6%

Open quotesIt is well known that rates for Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland are even worseClose quotes

Prostate Cancer (5-year survival rates)

Austria - 83.6%
Iceland - 76.2%
Germany - 75.9%
France - 75.2%
Average - 65.4%
England - 53.8%

All Men (5-Year Survival Rates)

Average - 40.5%
England - 37.1%

All Women (5-Year Survival Rates)

Average - 53.6%
England - 50.8%

The National Audit Office in the same study on England (it is well known that rates for Wales, Scotland and N.Ireland are even worse) said that 5-year survival had only improved by 12% in 30 years - a figure well at odds with Cancer Research UK claims. If true, is this really something to shout about?

But anyway - what is 5-year survival and does it have any real relevance to ’cure’ and ’survival’?

5-year survival is a statistic and is open to manipulation. If, for example, a cancer took 6 years from development until the death of a patient, and we took two identical patients, patient A and patient B: With Patient A the cancer is diagnosed very early, let’s say in month 6. So the patient will live a further five and a half years and be included as a 5-year survival. If the cancer is not diagnosed until after 18 months in patient B, they would only survive four and a half years from that point, and so be outside of 5-year survival rates. Both patients being identical would die on the same day! Thus this statistic thus has no bearing on reality and ultimately changing mortality rates.

Open quotes5-year survival is a statistic and is open to manipulationClose quotes

It is no wonder that there is a drive in the UK towards screening programmes. Screening will allow earlier detection and move more people from being B patients to A patients. Whether it will have any effect on reducing mortality or on improving longevity in real terms remains to be seen, but one would hope so.

But be clear. Rarely does screening help prevent cancer (possibly in cervical cancer and some colon cancers, for example). Screening, by and large is about earlier detection.

The Future

Hope or Hype - a new drug just around the corner? Can we really wait for 10 years or 20 before it is in mass production, assuming they even find one?

A report produced by a team of experts (lead by Professor Karol Sikora) in conjunction with Macmillan Cancer Care concluded that Cancer rates would double by 2025 and that the NHS ’faced meltdown’. (Ref: Cancer 2025: Conclusion. Peter Cardy and Karol Sikora: Expert Rev. Anticancer Ther. 4(3), Suppl. 75-77 (2004)). This would see an annual new cases level of 540,000 and approximately 3 million people living with cancer.

Surely the real issue is trying to PREVENT people getting cancer in the first place. It is cheaper for the Government, and far, far better for you, me and our children.

Cancer Prevention - What Is Currently Happening?

Cancer Research UK have a publicly stated intent to get more people into drug trials than any other country in the world. Already 30,000 or more in the UK, this dwarfs even the USA who have a little over 10,000, (1.6 million cancer cases per year in USA).

Open quotesWe estimate that less than half a percent of all monies is really spent on preventionClose quotes

Meanwhile less than 2% of their total funds, they say, are spent on ’Prevention’ and that figure includes a very significant sum on screening. We estimate that less than half a percent of all monies is really spent on prevention.

Who Doesn’t Get Cancer?

The answer - potentially nobody!

Populations such as those of South East Asia have historically had the lowest rates of cancer. Japanese levels were low save for stomach cancers due to the consumption of large amounts of pickled vegetables, and salt (in soy sauce for example). Often quoted are the Okinawans who have the longest life expectancies in the world (around 84 years on average) and lowest rates of cancer. This is generally attributed to an active life and their diets: They eat only a limited number of calories, low levels of meat and fish, high vegetable/fruit levels and the coral atolls supply them with good levels of organic and easily assimilated minerals.

Research shows that taking these people into Western countries produces Western cancer rates in them.

Genetic Causes

As work progresses with the Genome project we are discovering more and more factors. But a straight hereditary cause of cancer is likely to be a concern in less than 7% of all people. For example, about 7% of women have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes - originally thought to cause Breast cancer. Now it is realized that one helps repair DNA damage, the other helps the immune system recognize rogue cells - without it cancer cells can effectively ’hide’. Now these genes have been implicated in prostate cancer as well.

Open quotesModern lifestyle is still the most important
factorClose quotes

Modern lifestyle is still the most important factor. Recent research concluded that 50 years ago people with BRCA1 and 2 had a 40% incidence of developing cancer. Now that figure is 70% (icon, Cancer Watch).

A study of identical twins by Swedish scientist throughout Europe showed that just because one sibling with the genes developed a disease the other did not have to. Lifestyle and diet were the core reasons given and The US Health Director stated that this finding should ’End the fatalism of "it runs in my family, so I’m going to get".’

Other Links To Cancer

Increasingly studies are showing that parasites can cause cancer
Parasites as a definition may include viruses (eg HPV is linked to Cervical cancer); bacteria (eg Chlamydia is linked to ovarian cancer); and various microbes, yeasts and even parasites themselves.

More cancer links are being noticed all the time. For example, men with diabetes have been recently found to have three times the normal levels of colorectal cancers. Again this seems to suggest diet as a cause.

Non- ionizing and ionising radiation (masts, mobile phones, X-rays, CT scans) often have fingers pointed at them.

Chemical production in the world has increased from 1 million tones in the 1940’s to over 400 million tones nowadays. The WWF has studies showing nasty chemicals like DDT are clearly found in our blood streams. The US Cancer Prevention Coallition have sponsored research, which has shown that levels of toxins from chemicals are higher in your own home than in the town center. The finger points at householder cleaners, cosmetics and toiletries and there is on-going debate with the EU on the REACH project.

Open quotesThe fact is that we just are not doing very much about any of thisClose quotes

The fact is that we just are not doing very much about any of this. Too many vested interests, too little honesty, too little action, too many people developing cancer, too many people only focusing on expensive and profitable cures.

Causes Of Cancer - And Cancer Prevention

Cancer development is a very complex process. The fact is that no single factor has been proven to be a direct cause of cancer - even smoking and inhalation of asbestos. However, there are a number of statistical studies in which they are implicated.

And to varying degrees there have been similar studies on a host of other possible factors.

We have to be grown up about this.

Some factors may have a direct effect by causing cellular damage; they may cause a cell to mis-function. But under normal conditions these rogue cells are ’mopped up’ by the immune system.

However a number of factors may have an indirect causal effect:

there are those that have been shown to damage the immune system giving a rogue cell a greater chance of beating the system and causing its havoc

there are those factors that might stimulate secondary causes like heightened oestrogen levels (for example, being overweight, certain pesticides or chemicals in toiletries), reduced oxygen levels (like diesel fumes), increased acidity levels (like salt) or feed cancer cells (like glucose)

Why Take The Risk?

We simply believe people have a right to know what theses factors are. And to make their own minds up accordingly.

It is after all quite absurd to think that cancer levels may go from approximately 1 million people to 3 million people in the UK in just 45 years.

The WHO has recently stated that at least 30% of cancers are preventable.

Shouldn’t we at least be making a start?

CANCERactive - we’re here to prevent you dying of cancer

Lack of Information, Highlights Cancer Prevention Problem In UK
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