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02 February 2007

40% will get cancer

According to statistics released in 2006 by the US National Cancer Institute, a person has a 41.28% chance of getting cancer in his or her lifetime.

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According to statistics released in 2006 by the US National Cancer Institute, a person has a 41.28% chance of getting cancer in his or her lifetime.

The average age for diagnosis of Cancer is around 67 years old and the average age at death is 73 years old. This disease therefore significantly reduces one’s life expectancy and awareness – either to help prevent cancer occurring or to allow for early diagnosis – is essential.

The causes of most cancers are unknown. Some have been shown to have a genetic link, whereas others are thought to be related to risk factors including: a change of diet, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, smoking, drinking and stress. The causes for nearly two thirds of all cancers, however, still remain mere speculation rather than real science.

Dr Sally Phillips, Chief Medical Officer of Discovery Life, says that at Discovery Life the most common type of cancer-related insurance claims are for breast cancer, making up 26% of all cancer claims.

Skin cancer was one of the top four types of cancer claims received by Discovery Life, as at July 2006, making up approximately 12% of serious illness benefit cancer claims paid to the fund’s members.

Skin cancer is caused by an abnormal growth of skin cells in response to various stimuli including frequent, ongoing exposure to harmful UV light rays. With climatic changes related to global warming, skin cancer is on the increase. There are three major types of skin cancer: Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma.

Having a fair skin, moles, getting sun-burnt, having a history of skin cancer in your family and living in a warm climate are some of the factors that may increase a person’s risk of getting skin cancer.

Dr Sally Phillips advises that if you have a mole that bleeds, changes colour or feels irregular in shape you should visit your doctor immediately. The earlier one detects skin cancer the more likely you are to be able to treat it.

Tips to cut your skin cancer risk

  • Avoid the sun between 10 am and 5 pm
  • Use a sizeable amount of sunscreen with a high sun protection factor all year round
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses when you’re outside
  • Avoid sun beds
  • Visit the dermatologist annually
  • Examine your skin regularly for new moles or changes to moles.

- (Discovery Life)

Source: Press release from Discovery Life

Read more:
Cancer Centre
Skin Centre

February 2007

 
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