Cancer Aware in May
May is an interesting month in cancer awareness. Depending on the country you live it you are bringing awareness to Bladder Cancer, Brain Tumours or Skin Cancer/Sun Awareness. So to be fair I will do a little about all these cancers!
Bladder cancer is the 10th most common cancer diagnosed in the UK. Bladder cancer effects both men and women is more common in men compared women. Approximately 10,000 new patients are diagnosed every year and only 50% of those patients will survive 10-years or more. More than 50% of bladder cancer cases are diagnosed in patients 75+ years old. Over the last 20 years bladder cancer incidence has decreased by 38% with better diagnosis and treatments. As with most cancers, 42% of bladder cancer cases are preventable.
There are two main symptoms of bladder cancer:
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Brain cancer (including other central nervous system and intracranial tumours) is the 9th most commonly diagnosed cancer in UK and effects both men and women. There are approximately 10,000 cases diagnosed every year however only 14% of those patients survive 10 years or more. Cancer is a disease commonly associated with ageing (older people are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer), however brain tumours effect people of all ages.
As complicated as the brain is, the symptoms of brain cancer are numerous and equally complicated. For more detailed symptoms and information please visit CRUK's website:
Brain cancer is diagnosed using MRI, CT or blood tests.
Brain cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to diagnose and treat. The brain is incredibly delicate and any damage could lead to long term problems. Usually when a cancer patient undergoes surgery, the surgeon tries to take a little of the "normal" tissue around the tumour. This area where tumour and normal tissue meet is called the "leading edge". This gives the surgeon more confidence that all of the tumour has been removed. But every single cell in brain in important. You cannot take big chunks of the brain out so surgeons must remove right on the leading edge. This sadly occasionally means some tumour gets left. Recurrence of the tumour is a lot higher in brain tumours compared to other cancers. Another issue with brain cancer is chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Chemotherapy does damage to normal cells, so giving a lot of chemotherapy directly to the brain is dangerous. Similarly radiotherapy can cause damage. They are incredibly difficult to treat and I have to commend all the brain cancer surgeons, doctors, nurses and care givers for their work.
The positive it that there is a lot of research going into killing brain cancer cells without damaging the brain. One example is CRUK who have set up a funding initiative focusing on cancers with unmet needs, including brain cancer. So out there right now are researchers working on understanding, diagnosing and treating brain cancer.
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Skin cancer is the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK with approximately 15,000 patients diagnosed every year. The positive - 90% of patients survive 10-years or more and about 80% of skin cancers can be prevented. The majority of skin cancer is diagnosed in patients 60+ years.
The common symptoms for skin cancer are:
Here comes the sun awareness! There are two main UV radiation wavelengths that come from the sun and get through our atmosphere. The one most closely linked to cancer is UVA. UVA penetrates deep into your skin. When the UVA light goes into your skin cells it causes DNA damage. If the DNA damage persists through cell division (read: What the Hell? The Cell for more info) this causes cell instability and can lead to cancer. UVB tends to only penetrate the top layers of your skin, causing sunburn. To date there is no conclusive evidence linking UVB radiation to cancer. UVB actually stimulates your skin cells to produce vitamin D. But with one comes the other! And it doesn't matter if it is sunny or bucketing down, UV light still reaches your skin. While it is recommended that you spend some time outside every day, you need to take care of your skin with UVA protection. Your sun protection should have SPF AND UVA protection to be the most effective. Sun protection should be applied regularly. Wear a hat, avoid direct sunlight. If you don't believe me, ask Hugh Jackman!
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11/4/2018 06:57:01 am
11/4/2018 07:05:06 am
This is amazing! This is very informative blog. This post made my day. I'm not aware of this type of cancer. I have no medical background that's why I'm glad that I found your blog. I have a friend that suffering with a skin cancer. When I saw your post I know that it would help me to help my friend. I have no idea about this disease that is why I try to search on the internet and then I found your post. I'm so happy that there are still people who share this kind of information in public. I will share this post to my family and friends for them to be aware about this topic.
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My name is Caitriona and I am a PhD student at Imperial College London, UK.