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Let's beat cancer sooner

There’s been lots of coverage in the media today about improvements in cancer survival rates – statistics we released to help launch our new research strategy. The story made it onto the BBC, ITV, Sky, and Channel 4, and was covered in all the national papers, including the Telegraph, the Express, The Daily Mail, The Guardian and the Independent, as well as a range of local and online media.

A couple of interesting comment pieces also popped up, including this one on the BBC, and this editorial in the Independent.

Most of the coverage was spot on, putting the statistics in proper context. But, as many people on Twitter have pointed out, there was small but significant error made in a graphic in The Metro:

The graphic from today's Metro

The graphic from today’s Metro

The graphic lists breastfeeding as one of a number of lifestyle risk factors ‘linked to cancer’. This is somewhat unfortunate – what the graphic should say is ‘not breastfeeding’ – a large amount of evidence suggests that breast cancers are less common among women who breastfeed for more than six months.

Whoops. This wasn’t entirely the fault of Metro, however – it was taken from some slightly ambiguous wording on our website, which we’ve now updated.

There’s more detail about breastfeeding and its protective effect against cancer here, and you can read a fuller discussion of the lifestyle risk factors linked to cancer here .

Henry

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Comments

a5343983 September 7, 2014

People who have cancer, adults and children, should be given an extensive questionnaire that may help prevent more cancer. Adults may be given the child’s questionnaire to answer for the child. The answers to the questionnaires would be filed into a huge database to help compile data and statistics from the answers. The compiled data would be available on the internet for people to see. A computer could be programmed to compile statistics from the data. The questionnaire data statistics may help show possible cancer causes. *** Types of questionnaire questions must be varied and expansive in scope. For example types of questionnaire questions: (1) What is your occupation, ( and spouse occupation )( for a child ask parents occupation.)
(2) How many hours each week do you drive ( or are a passenger ) in a motor vehicle.
( same question for a child.)
ETC… ( ABOUT 100 – 200 types of questions should be asked of different types… )
( many people should be involved in the creation of the types of questions asked on the questionnaire… )

a56459908 September 5, 2014

there needs to be a published source of people’s thoughts on what he or she BELIEVES caused there cancer ( or child’s cancer ) YES I KNOW that what we believe what caused the cancer is just a belief ( BUT sometimes our belief is correct.) For example, if your child has cancer and you believe that living upstairs from a dry-cleaning store caused your child’s cancer I WANT TO KNOW WHAT you believe. *** FROM our thoughts on what caused our cancer or our child’s cancer we can dissect fact, fiction and POSSIBLE.
PEOPLE NEED to know IF YOU HAVE ANY INKLING about a cause.
YOU COULD help other parents NOT live above a dry cleaner store (AS an example )
YOUR thoughts could HELP prevent MORE cancers from developing!!!!!!!
I DO want to know these thoughts. **If someone thinks that there child got cancer because they took vitamin pills ( I WANT TO KNOW THIS !! ) ( I want to know –even if this is just a belief **** later people can sift through fact, fiction and POSSIBLE…
Do you believe your child got cancer because you put pesicides on your lawn on a regular basis ( I WANT TO know what you believe….)
****PEOPLE let us know WHAT you believe caused your cancer or your child’s cancer
(BLOG it ) PEOPLE LIKE ME WILL respond!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nqobile Langa14261562 May 9, 2014

Its an amazing fact because most people thought breastfeeding actually causes cancer, this a breakthrough now mothers can bond with their babies without the fear of cancer

u14163609 May 4, 2014

According to the reading I have done on this topic I found it fascinating how there is much epidemiological data available to authenticate that breastfeeding really can reduce one’s chances of acquiring specifically breast cancer. However, none of the material I encountered spoke of breastfeeding reducing other ‘non-hormonal’ cancers. I feel an important aspect that needs to be highlighted is that the breastfeeding process needs to occur regularly and for a sustained time period of at least six months in order for the benefits of reducing one’s chances of acquiring cancer to be felt. Additionally there are many more benefits to breastfeeding which is why it is so encouraged in many countries. Some of these include its affordability – especially in less developed countries – as well as the bond it creates between a mother and child as was mentioned in the article. It also allows for a transfer of immune protection from a mother to her baby. All this gives substance to the saying that ‘breast is best’.

u14277302 May 3, 2014

Its a relief that if you want to do things naturally it wont affect you and cause cancer.

Gjizelle Nel May 2, 2014

It is a pity that they put the wrong information/statistics out there. I myself am not a mother, but I have seen the beauty of breastfeeding and the bond it creates between mother and baby. Thank you for sharing the correct information, and by doing so calm new mothers by telling them that breastfeeding will not make them more prone to cancer.

University of Pretoria student
student number u14020492