In 2007 cancer caused about 13% of all human deaths worldwide. Cancer occurs when cells in a particular part of the body grow and reproduce at an unprecedented level. These cancerous cells invade and destroy any healthy tissues.

There are over 200 different types of cancer, and it is thought that more than 1 in 3 people will develop some form during their lifetime. The most common forms of cancer are bladder, breast, colorectal, endometrial, kidney, leukemia, lung, melanoma, non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, pancreatic, prostate and thyroid.

Causes, signs, and symptoms

The exact cause continues to be a mystery, although smoking, certain infections, radiation, lack of physical activity and environmental pollutants are all thought to increase the chances. 5-10% of all cancers are hereditary.

Cancer is often detected by screening tests or medical imaging, along with noticeable signs and symptoms. In general anyone suffering from cancer will likely experience tiredness and weight loss.

Other signs of cancer may include the presence of an unusual lump, changes in a mole, persistent cough or hoarseness of voice, change in bowel habits, abnormal bleeding, persistent sore or ulcer, skin changes and many more besides.

Treatment and prevention

Most cases are treated using chemotherapy and radiotherapy along with surgery, but treatment will vary greatly.

The actual diagnosis of cancer can sometimes take months due to the complications of this particular illness, but once diagnosis is made treatment often begins quite quickly. 30% of cancer is seen as preventable by avoiding things such as smoking, being overweight, physical inactivity, alcohol and air pollution.

Studies have claimed many food stuffs can be related to higher incidences of cancer and claims have been made for certain diets preventing cancer but these need more research to be fully confirmed.

Some vaccinations have been developed to decrease the risk of developing cervical cancer for example. There are also screening programs in place for cervical, colorectal, breast and gastric cancer in Japan.

Cancer and pregnancy

Cancer very rarely affects those who are pregnant due to the higher incidence in those who are older; however it does happen in 1 in a 1000 cases, with the most common types being those which affect women the most. It is a very difficult diagnosis to make when pregnant due to the symptoms being written of a sign of pregnancy.

Treatment is generally the same but radiation and radioactive drugs are avoided if possible. It isn’t uncommon for an early delivery of the baby to start treatment for the mother.


Keeping healthy through good lifestyle choices, healthy diets and a good supplement regime may all help to keep cancer at bay. It has been suggested that poor dental hygiene can increase the risk of cancer. A good screening program for those types of cancers that can be screened for have been shown to be a beneficial benchmark in cancer prevention and early treatment. There have also been good results for treatment with drugs for certain cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer. Supplements such as vitamins and minerals have not been proven to stop people from getting cancer or curing it but it has been proven to help with controlling the growth of advanced cancers.

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