Cancer info

What is cancer?
Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.

Who can get cancer?
It has been estimated that more than 1 in 3 people (33%) will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime. Cancers can occur at any age, but the risk of developing cancer increases with age.

Can cancer be prevented?
Sometimes cancer can be prevented. It’s quite possible that more than half of cancer deaths could be prevented – if everyone avoided tobacco, controlled their weight, got enough physical exercise, and took other steps to improve their health.

What lifestyles can lead to cancer? 
Tobacco- Smoking is by far the most important preventable cause of cancer in the world. Smoking accounts for more than one in four UK cancer deaths, and nearly a fifth of all cancer cases. In Kenya, more & more youth are now smoking hence are at a higher risk of developing tobacco related cancers later in their life. The World Health Organization has estimated that, if current trends continue, tobacco could cause a billion deaths in the 21st Century. Smoking increases the risk of at least 13 cancers including cancers of the:

• Lung
• Larynx (voice box),
• Oesophagus (gullet)
• Mouth
• Pharynx (throat)
• Bladder
• Pancreas
• Kidney
• Liver
• Stomach
• bowel
• Cervix
• Ovary
• Nose
• Sinus
• Some types of leukaemia
• There is also some evidence that smoking could increase the risk of breast cancer

Alcohol: Excessive alcohol use clearly raises the risk of these cancers
• Mouth
• Throat
• Voice box
• Esophagus
• Liver
• Colon
• Rectum
• Breast

Weight/obesity – Obesity is associated with increased risks of the following cancer types, and possibly others as well:
• Esophagus
• Pancreas
• Colon and rectum
• Breast (after menopause)
• Endometrium (lining of the uterus)
• Kidney
• Thyroid
• Gallbladder

Diets – A review of how lifestyle affects your risk of developing cancer was published in 2011. This review included diet. It found that around 1 out of 10 cancers (10%) may be linked to diet. Over half of these were caused by eating less than 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Other factors include eating too much red meat, not eating enough fibre and eating too much salt.

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