Cancer is a sad reality many people have to live with, either because they have been directly or indirectly affected by the disease. However, not many know much about the disease, although some attempts have been made to bring stories of people battling cancer to our screens. Laura Linney starred in the acclaimed Showtime series The Big C, which followed the life of Cathy Jamison – a suburban mom played by Linney – who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The show chronicled the impact of the disease on Cathy and her family, as they continued to experience the highs and lows of everyday life while this diagnosis hung over their heads as a constant reminder of Cathy’s mortality.
Cancer itself is not just one disease – it is a group of diseases characterized by abnormal cell growth which can spread to various parts of the body. Symptoms can include lumps, abnormal bleeding and unexplained weight loss. However, just as not all lumps or tumors are cancerous, it is also important to note that these symptoms can also have multiple causes and only a firm diagnosis can confirm the presence of cancer.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death across the world. 14 million new cases were recorded across the world in 2012 – a number the US National Cancer Institute expects to rise to 22 million over the next two decades. Also in 2012, 8.2 million cancer-related deaths were recorded globally. In 2015, the number was 8.8 million. These are particularly damning predictions for Africa, Asia and Central and South America, as these regions contribute more than 60% of the world’s new cancer diagnoses and 70% of cancer-related deaths.
Over 100 different types of cancer affecting human beings and, according to 2015 figures, the most deadly strains are lung cancer (which caused 1.69 million deaths), liver cancer (788,000 deaths), colorectal cancer (774, 000 deaths), stomach cancer (754, 000 deaths) and breast cancer (571, 000 deaths). Cancer Research UK provides the following figures as statistics showing the incidence of cancer in the UK alone.
With these alarming figures, news of a potential remedy is a much-needed relief, not only for the scientific community working tirelessly to provide a cure but for the millions who are currently battling the disease. Recent reports from Sweden appear to have provided such news.