Quick fire facts on cancer

11 November 2014

Interview with

Tim Revell, Georgia Mills, Cambridge University

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 - 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.  It's 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 isn't 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 didn't 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 '70s.

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

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