Science Interviews


Tue, 11th Nov 2014

Quick fire facts on cancer

Tim Revell, Georgia Mills, Cambridge University

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Combating Cancer

Naked Scientists Tim Revel and Georgia Mills have some quick fire facts and misconceptions A Prostate Cancer Cellabout cancer...

Tim -  There are over 200 different types of cancer.  But genetic research suggests that every cancer may be unique to the individual.

Georgia -  Cancer causes your cells to divide abnormally which then starts spreading around the body.

Tim -  Abnormal cell division leads to the extra cells building up in a clump, which is called a tumour.

Georgia -  But not all cancers make tumours Ė for example, leukaemia.

Tim -  There are over 14 million cancer cases worldwide each year, causing around 8 million deaths.

Tim -  Often, the cancerous cells prevent healthy cells from doing their job correctly.

Georgia -  Radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery are three of the most common cancer treatments.

Tim -  And they are often used in combination.

Georgia -  Surgery has the best overall success rate.

Tim -  This method aims to directly cut out cancerous cells from the body.

Georgia -  While radiotherapy involves precisely firing high energy rays at cancer cells and eventually causing them to die

Tim -  And chemotherapy uses drugs instead of radiation to achieve the same effect.

Georgia -  Now, for some myth busting:  fact or fiction...

Tim -  Cancer is a recent man-made disease.

Georgia -  Fiction.

Tim -  Cancer was described by the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Greeks

Georgia -  And has been detected in mummies, early skeletons and even in dinosaurs.

Tim -  Cancer is on the rise, but that's mostly because we are living longer.

Georgia -  As well as smoking, drinking and eating too much.

Tim -  Super foods prevent cancer.

Georgia -  Fiction.

Tim -  There is no such thing as a super food.  Itís a marketing term, not a scientific one.

Georgia -  A diet rich in all kinds of fruit and veg will help to reduce your cancer risk.  But eating a few trendy berries on top of an unhealthy diet isnít going to be much help.

Tim -  Cancer treatment kills more than it cures.

Georgia -  Fiction.

Tim -  Now, it is true that a lot of people die after cancer treatment.

Georgia -  But this is usually because the treatment just didnít work or came too late and people succumb to the disease.

Tim -  Cancer treatments are not without their risks, but new treatments and earlier diagnoses have increased the number of survivors.

Georgia -  Many cancers still have poor outlooks, but there are some success stories.

Tim -  96% of men diagnosed with testicular cancer are now cured...

Georgia -  ...compared with only 70% in the 1970s.

Tim -  Three quarters of children with cancer are now cured...

Georgia -  ...while only a third were in the Ď70s.

Tim -  Itís still a big problem, but we know more about cancer now than ever before.


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