Cancer is a scary word. But when you know all the facts, knowledge and understanding can reduce the fear. Find out everything you need to know about cancer and its effects...

What is Cancer

Cancer: What is it?

When abnormal cells divide and spread to other tissues in the body, this is a common disease which is known as cancer. Cancer has become so common in the UK that nobody asks the question: “What is cancer?” anymore. Cancer cells can spread to any part of the body, and their prolonged presence within the body is almost certainly life threatening to the majority of people. There is not just one type of cancer – there are hundreds of different kinds. The majority of cancers are named after the organ or body part in which they start, for examples, cancer that begins in the lungs is referred to as lung cancer. There are various main categories of cancer, and these include cancer that starts in the tissue, cancer that begins in bone or muscle, cancer that begins in bone marrow, cancer that begins in the immune system and cancer which starts in the brain or spinal cord. Cancer is becoming increasingly popular in the United Kingdom and four out of ten people are expected to get some sort of cancer at some stage in their lives.

What causes cancer and how can I avoid it?

Different types of cancer are caused by different types of things. Some things will only affect certain types of body tissue. Tobacco is one of the main causes of lung cancer in the UK today, and skin cancer is caused by too much exposure to the sun or from spending too much time in the very popular sun tanning studios. However, there is no single cause for the majority of cancers which people get, and even age has a part to play in many types of cancer. You can avoid becoming a patient of cancer yourself by living a healthy lifestyle, following a good diet and getting enough exercise. Avoid smoking, too much natural sun, large quantities of food additives, man-made radiation and other hazards which could potentially cause some form of cancer.

What is being done to help cancer patients?

There are many different charities which specialise in helping cancer patients in the UK. Cancer Research UK and Macmillan UK are two of the leading cancer charities in Britain. Hospitals, such as The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, are set up to help the sufferers of cancer. Although The Christie is the most popular, there are several others, such as The Royal Marsden Cancer Centre in London. Thousands of UK residents have lost family members and loved ones to the deadly disease known as cancer. This is the reason why each year, thousands of people across Britain take part in fundraising events, such as Tesco’s Race for Life and Macmillan’s Big Coffee Morning. Fundraising takes place on smaller scales, such as within schools. For example, Chethams School of Music in Manchester supported The Christie last year by asking people to donate money as they came into the school to watch the concerts which are held every day for the general public.