The new Work Fit campaign, Cancer and You was launched on the16 October 2007. The new campaign - a joint venture between BT, the CWU and Connect, aims to promote awareness of the different aspects of the most common cancers and has been developed with the support of cancer information charity Cancerbackup. Each year 250 BT people are newly diagnosed with cancer - while another 2,000 have overcome the disease and are back working for the company.
In the UK more than a quarter of a million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 1 in 3 people will develop cancer during their lifetime. But cancer is not common in children or young people - it mainly occurs in the later years of life. Cancers can occur at any age, but the risk of developing cancer increases with age. 64% of all newly diagnosed cancers occur in people aged 65 years or more.
Cancer will probably affect each and every one of us - either because we become ill ourselves or because it strikes a close family member, a friend or a colleague. The Cancer and you campaign will include comprehensive information and guidance over a six-week period, a series of roadshows and a number of local initiatives. An event in the auditorium of BT Centre in London on Tuesday 23 October will include a “drop-in” interactive information fair for everyone in the building on that day. Some cancers are very common and others are very rare. The most recent statistics for the UK (from 2003) show that for men the most common cancer is prostate cancer (23%), followed by lung cancer (16%), large bowel cancer (14%) and bladder cancer (5%).
For women the figures are breast cancer (31%), large bowel cancer (11%), lung cancer (11%) and cancer of the ovary (5%). Stopping smoking, avoiding over-exposure to strong sunlight and using strong sunscreens could prevent hundreds of thousands of us from developing lung and skin cancer worldwide annually. Eating foods rich in antioxidants and beneficial fatty acids seem to protect against some cancers, although the findings are mixed.
This means that there are behavioural changes that we all can make that will reduce our risk of developing cancer. It is estimated that half of all cancers could be prevented by changes to lifestyle. The rest of the good news is that, if diagnosed early, breast, prostate, colon and skin cancer can be cured. Today, almost two-thirds of those who develop cancer will still be alive five years later, compared with just half in the 1970s.
Cancer can often be managed more easily when it is diagnosed in the early stages. Being aware of your body and what is 'normal' for you, and reporting symptoms to your GP, can help to make sure that, if you do have cancer, it is diagnosed as early as possible.