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Modern Life Has Caused Cancer Rate In Young People To Increase
Scientists have warned that modern day life is killing our children, with the number of cancer diagnosis in young people rising by 40% in the past 16 years.
Poor diets, pollution, pesticides and radiation are all to blame, say researchers at the charity, Children with Cancer UK. Although part of the rise can be linked to improvements in the diagnoses and screening of cancer, researchers say that the majority is caused by these environmental factors.
It was found that there are now 1,300 more cancer cases per year compared with the year 1998, the first time that all data sets were published.
Teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 has seen the biggest rise. The incident rate in this age group has risen from around 10 cases in 100,000 to nearly 16.
Pollution accounts for around 40% of the rise, but other components of modern lifestyles are also to blame:
- pesticides inhaled during pregnancy
- radiation from x-rays and CT scans
- smoking during and after pregnancy
- magnetic fields from power lines
- gadgets in homes
- and potentially, radiation from mobile phones
Scientific adviser for Children with Cancer UK, Dr Denis Henshaw, Professor of Human Radiation Effects at Bristol University, says: “When you look at cancers such as childhood leukaemia there is no doubt that environmental factors are playing a big role. We were shocked to see the figures, and it’s modern lifestyle I’m afraid.”
“Many items on the list of environmental causes are now known to be carcinogenic, such as air pollution and pesticides and solvents. There has been good research to suggest a mother’s diet can damage DNA in cord blood. Light at night we know is very disruptive for the body, which is why shift workers have such bad health.”
All of these contributing things are a part of day-to-day life and it’s very difficult to avoid. Henshaw says: “Burnt barbecues, the electric fields of power lines, the electricity supply in your home. Hairdryers. It’s all of these things coming together, and it seems to be teenagers and young people that are most affected.”
It may seem like a losing battle we are fighting, but experts believe that there are ways of preventing a child from getting cancer.
Here are a few recommended lifestyle changes that can have a preventative effect on cancer:
- Allow children to attend nursery to boost their immune system
- Do not paint children’s rooms with oil-based paints
- Avoid night shift work during pregnancy
- In pregnancy, women should avoid processed meat and fried, grilled or well-roasted foods which contain the chemical acrylamide – a known carcinogen in animals.
- Scientists have also said that women should also avoid too much coffee during pregnancy. Three to four cups has been shown to increase the risk of leukaemia in offspring by three to four fold.
- The experts say doctors should also avoid giving children x-rays and CT scans where possible to avoid radiation.