Cancer screening and early detection save lives

Blog: Cancer screening and early detection save lives - Executive Health

Cancer is a global disease which according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2020 has been attributed to nearly 10 million deaths, which equates to nearly one in six deaths. Worldwide the most common being breast, lung, rectum, prostate and colon cancer of who one third of mortalities were caused by obesity, smoking, poor diet and high alcohol consumption.

To illustrate the gravity of this public health issue, we’ve taken a snapshot of four first world countries’ populations and instances of cancer in 2020, as published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The USA has a population of 331,002,653 and there were 612,390 deaths caused by cancer during this period. Similarly, Sweden’s has a population of 10,099270 and saw 24,464 cancer deaths; the UK’s population is 67,886,004 of which 179,648 people died of cancer and Spain’s population is 46,754,784 and lost 113,054 people to cancer.

Most common cancers

The five most prevalent forms of cancer during this period were: breast cancer (2.26 million); lung cancer (2.21million); colon and rectal (1.93 million) and prostate (1.41 million). The two most deadly forms are lung cancer (1.80 million deaths ) and colon and rectal cancers (916,000 deaths). Breast cancer was found to be the fifth most deadly (685,000).

The sad fact is, that a large percentage of cancers are caused by lifestyle choices which lead to higher risks, such as smoking or bad nutrition and obesity. Another startling fact is that many can be prevented if detected early enough via medical screening.

What is cancer?

To get the full picture, lets go back to basics in order to understand what we mean by cancer. In simple terms, cancer is a catch all term, it is sometimes referred to as tumours and neoplasms. These occur when abnormal cells that grow and multiply beyond the norm and start to damage other organs, which is known as metastasis. When the cancer spreads, this is the main cause for death from cancer.

Causes of cancer

As touched upon above, cancer occurs when healthy cells turn into tumour cells, which usually starts with a pre-cancerous growth or lesion before growing into a malignant tumour. This can occur due to the lifestyle choices also mentioned above, such as tobacco smoke or other carcinogens like pollution or infections, parasites and viruses. Genetics factors can play a role, for example, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene fault has been identified as representing an increases risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Actress Angelina Jolie carried this gene and as she has a strong family history of these cancers opted for an elective preventative double mastectomy in 2013.

Cancer risks

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) asserts that incidence of cancer increases as we age, due to the body’s immune system becoming weaker as we grow older. Therefore it’s crucial to do as much as we can to mitigate risks, such as following a healthy diet, taking regular exercise, moderating alcohol consumption and of course to stop smoking tobacco. In poorer countries, there is a higher instance of cancers attributed to carcinogens and viruses.

Reducing the risk of cancer

The same IARC report, suggests that between 30% and 50% of cancers could be prevented by mitigating risk and via early detection and diagnosis. Many forms of cancer can be successful treated at an early stage.

Cancer screening and early diagnosis

Early diagnosis is an essential part of the preventing deaths from cancer. It is important to be aware of symptoms and to get medical advice immediately, no matter how trivial you think it could be. It is much better to be safe than sorry. An evaluation and diagnosis can then be made in order for treatment to begin.

However, the best way to prevent expedite treatment is to undergo regular full medical check-ups to identify any potential issues before they progress into a problem. Executive’s Health’s medical screening service uses the very latest preventative healthcare technology to identify specific cancer or pre-cancer cells before they have developed symptoms. Upon identifying abnormalities during a medical screening, additional test can be carried out in order to achieve a speedy diagnosis and a subsequent referral for immediate treatment. To be blunt, diagnostics and treatment are essential in order to increase cancer survival rates.

Even if you do not fit the general profile for being ‘at risk’, because you are young and enjoy a healthy lifestyle medical screening is still a crucial preventative step. Specialist medical screening programmes, such as Executive Health’s programmes, have been developed to identify early asymptomatic signs.

If you would like more information about the range and benefits of Executive Health’s screening programmes, please visit the website, contact [email protected] or call +34 670 674 246.