Cancer is a condition where cells in a specific part of the body grow and reproduce uncontrollably. The cancerous cells can invade and destroy surrounding healthy tissue, including organs.

Cancer sometimes begins in one part of the body before spreading to other areas. This process is known as metastasis. There are over 200 different types of cancer, each with its own methods of diagnosis and treatment.

Cancer is a very common condition. In 2011, almost 331,500 people in the UK were diagnosed with cancer.

More than one in three people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.

In the UK, the four most common types of cancer are: breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer & bowel cancer. In 2011, these types of cancer accounted for over half (53%) of all new cases.

(NHS Choices, 2015)

At least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. Prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer:

  • Tobacco use is the single greatest avoidable risk factor for cancer mortality worldwide, causing an estimated 22% of cancer deaths per year.
  • Dietary modification is another important approach to cancer control. There is a link between overweight and obesity to many types of cancer such as oesophagus, colorectum, breast, endometrium and kidney.
  • Regular physical activity and the maintenance of a healthy body weight, along with a healthy diet, will considerably reduce cancer risk.
  • Alcohol use is a risk factor for many cancer types including cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colorectum and breast.

(WHO, 2015)


I CAN... prevent cancer

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In 2013 the most common cancers in Wales in terms of numbers were female breast cancer, prostate, lung and bowel cancer.
Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (WCISU), 2015


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