As a student, you may feel immortal and resistant to any illness that affects you, whether it may be fresher’s flu or a bad hangover, you never really consider the very slim chance of a life threatening illness such as cancer. Women are offered cervical screening from the age of 25-64, however, women under the age of 25 can also request cervical screening. Conversely, men have a higher risk of getting testicular cancer at a younger age, cases peak from the age of 15. Cancer Research UK suggests this could be influenced by ‘pubertal hormones’ (2015). There is no screening process for testicular cancer, however, it is important to do a physical examination to check for lumps every so often, if you were to find something abnormal, see a GP as soon as possible. It is so important to book an appointment or making sure you carry out regular tests and seeing a GP if anything were to be abnormal. It won’t take long, and could prevent a deadly illness which could change your life in the long run.
In terms of cervical cancer, 65 in 3,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer under the age of 25 and it is suggested that due to abnormalities in cervical cells in women under the age 25, cervical screening would be futile. However, if you were to have any symptoms such as “abnormal vaginal bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, discomfort or pain during sex or lower back pain” (Not eligible for cervical screening – under 25, 2015) you should see a doctor and have a cervical screening examination immediately. Do not let it go unnoticed; it could save your life. Below is a chart from Cancer Research UK to show the number of cervical cancer cases in different age groups. There is a very small amount of women under the age of 25 who get cervical cancer, but by getting screened when necessary the statistics could decrease even more.
In the UK between 2010 and 2012, an average of 84% of cases were diagnosed in men aged 15-49 years, and 6% were diagnosed in men aged over 60 years (Cancer Research UK, 2015). Compared to cervical cancer in women under the age of 25, the statistics are much higher. In this case, 2016 would be a good year for younger men to keep carrying out regular examinations and seeing a doctor if necessary. There should be a yearly screening scheme for issues such as this as there is very little education on how to deal with it. Unfortunately due to lack of awareness and perhaps fear in young men, it is high statistic that will continue to increase if screening does not become a regular thing. All that can be done for now, in terms of testicular cancer, is too increase the level of self checks and to understand the affects of how an untreated symptom could effect your quality of life. Below are the statistics from Cancer Research UK regarding age and testicular cancer cases.
In recent news regarding cancer screening, the BBC suggest “Doctors say there is now “encouraging” evidence that an annual blood test may cut ovarian cancer deaths by a fifth” (17 Dec 2015). The UK Collaborative Trial Of Ovarian Cancer Screening, has been carrying out this study for the last 14 years of 200,000 women. They suggested that all this is not yet confirmed; it may cut out the need for some screening as it is seen as futile and does not notice the tumour in time. Although this type of annual blood screening will not be introduced for another three years, it is still a step into preventing ovarian cancer from spreading.
The charity ‘Checkemlads’ is an online forum where men tell their stories and share videos on how to help others who have been through the same stages they have. James is a 21 year old student, who like a lot of young men, put off the doctors for a lengthy amount of time. Luckily for himself he managed to recover and regain the strength he once had before being diagnosed. Read the whole of his story here: www.checkemlads.com/james.htm
Although cancer is a horrible thing to even think about in the New Year, it affects around 338,623 every year. Why take the risk? Get checked for cancer in 2016.
If you were affected or require any information about any of the issues in this article please visit the Cancer Research website.